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6 ways to get new donors for your nonprofit

October 10, 2020
Five nonprofit professionals stand in front of sticky notes attached to a glass display, brainstorming ways to get new donors.

How do I find new donors? It’s the age-old question every development director asks. To bring in new donors for your nonprofit organization, you need to do the legwork. Like building a new friendship, finding new donors takes commitment and effort. But where to begin? Check out these six ways you can find and secure new donors to fuel your nonprofit’s purpose.

1. Relationship mapping

Your current donors, board members, and volunteers are your best link to new donors. Who are their guests at events? Who shares your social media posts? Cultivating your existing relationships is a good donor stewardship practice and has the added benefit of building your reputation in the community.

2. Research, research, research

Read your local newspapers and magazines. Who is already active in your community who you’d like to get to know better? Try these two research methods to find prospective donors:

  • Stay current with key new hires and promotions at prominent local companies. These announcements offer opportunities to introduce yourself, offer your congratulations, and start a conversation. 
  • Donor lists are often published in annual reports, artistic playbills, and fundraising event programs. Research the people on these lists to discover how their interests intersect with your nonprofit’s purpose. 

Once you determine your prospects, take the time to meet and engage them. Introduce them to your nonprofit organization, invite them to events, and build a relationship before you ask for a donation.

3. Be where they are

Find out which social media platforms your prospects use, where they get their news, and what other organizations they support. Create marketing messages for these online platforms to increase your brand awareness, and attend key events for organizations they are members of to introduce them to your nonprofit.

4. Build partnerships

Collaborate with like-minded organizations to build trust with an extended audience. To cultivate these relationships, partner with them to host events, interact with them on social media, and invite their staff to speak at your own events.

5. Get out in the community

Attend community events that align with your nonprofit organization’s interests, and start by meeting one or two new people at each event. As you get more familiar with your community, challenge yourself to make five new connections before you leave an event. Before you know it, you’ll recognize familiar faces and build your network of prospective donors.

6. Host cultivation parties

Ask board members and donors you have a close relationship with to host get-togethers and invite friends and colleagues. During these events, you can:

  • Use a brief portion of the evening to share your nonprofit organization’s work with the room. Ask your host to speak about why they support you and encourage others to give. 
  • Set out a guest book (or laptop) to sign in attendees so you can collect mailing addresses and emails. 
  • Provide goodie bags that include a donation form and stamped remit envelope. 

Follow up the next day with guests to say how nice it was to meet them. Invite them to another upcoming event right away, while you’re fresh in their memory.

Want the secret to finding new donors? Well, we’ve got the answer! Incorporate the best practices from our How to recruit new donors for your nonprofit webinar into your everyday fundraising work to identify, attract, and retain donors.

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