How Can Your Small Nonprofit Attract Big Donors?

money, coins, fundraising, fundraiser

Written by Tim Grable

February 22, 2017

When it comes to effectively attracting big donors, many nonprofits usually make the mistake of relying on marketing alone. While that is important, the basics should never be overlooked. An ad will never have the same impact as a firm handshake and an honest smile.

That is what we’ll be talking about today. Let’s go through the process of getting a donation, step-by-step.

Step 1: Identify possible donors

There are three important traits that donors usually have:

  • You know them personally – In this case, they are more likely actually to listen to an acquaintance than a stranger.
  • They care about your cause – If they do not, don’t force them. You’ll only further drive them away.
  • They have money to donate – Sometimes people would like to donate, but they just can’t.

A surprisingly large number of nonprofit organizations look for donors in the wrong places. You will not be effectively attracting donors just by getting in touch with some rich strangers. In the US, the middle and lower classes are the one that gives the most to charity, not the wealthy.

The lesson here is to reach out to those close to you: Your friends, your neighbors, and co-workers.

Step 2: Inform them about your cause

You are probably familiar with the classic “cultivation visit”. It is a good way to attract donors effectively, but it is by no means the only one.

We encourage you to get creative. The one defining feature of your efforts should be to familiarize the possible donor with your work and cause.

Maybe invite them to meet some of the people you are helping or personally show up to help the cause. It mostly depends on what you do. After they have firsthand experience, they will truly understand the importance of their donation.

Step 3: Ask for support

This is the point where you ask for a donation. If you are effectively attracting donors, they’ll most likely accept at this point.

The best way to ask is face-to-face. It is personal; it shows that you care about them, and it also conveys the message that their help is needed the most. We know this is not always possible, so do as you see fit.

An important aspect is not to talk their ears off because it will start sounding like a sales pitch. Instead, ask them questions and let them do the speaking. This way, they will feel more involved and that they are really making a difference.

Step 4: Show gratitude

The obvious “Thank you” that you’ll give them when they tell you they’ll donate isn’t enough. If you never talk to them again or just ask for a donation again later, they’ll think that you only see them as a piggy bank.

Think about how you’d show gratitude to a friend after they do you a favor. That is how you should treat your donors as well.

What's the Secret to Effectively Attracting Donors?

You could send them a gift or a personal letter done by you or one of the people whom you are helping. Maybe invite them out to show them how thankful you are. These are some personal, one-on-one examples, but you can dream bigger too. You could organize an event to celebrate and thank all your donors.

Step 5: Ask them to become a bigger part of the organization

You are looking for anything helpful to the cause, and they’ve already proven that they want to help. The next logical step is to get them more involved in your work.

Invite them to do some volunteer work with you or tell their friends about the cause and how they can help too. There’s obviously the chance that they’ll refuse, but if they do not, they will become more and more invested.

The conclusion about effectively attracting donors

As you can see, asking for donations is only a small part of the process. The secret is to build a strong relationship with your donors, to get them to become emotionally invested in the cause, and to encourage them to become a part of the organization.

You’ll get many more donations by following these steps, but here’s another piece of advice for you: A great way to wow your possible donors and get them onboard is to hold compelling events with the right entertainers.

What’s the Secret to Effectively Attracting Big Donors?

Fundraising is no easy matter what kind of business you are in. If you run a small nonprofit and don’t know how to attract big donors, you might feel like it is time to turn to a professional fundraiser.

This might not be necessary as most small nonprofits learn how to raise more funds over time while having one main thought in mind: Being passionate about their work.

This feeling has to be the fuel of your activity. However, besides that, there are several methods that can help you attract donors. Let us show you some of them right now:

1. Find the right donors

Your primary objective when attracting big donors is finding those people who have the potential you are looking for and are also willing to invest large sums in your cause.

To have access to this kind of people, you have to build at least two or three strong relationships with individuals who belong to this target group.

Take advantage of every single opportunity you get to mingle with these people and advertise your cause.

Word of mouth is still the best way to attract large donors for your small nonprofit.

2. Be straightforward if you want to attract big donors

The one and only safe way to raise money is actually asking for it. Don’t be afraid to state your purpose right from the beginning and make your potential donors understand what you are aiming for. There are many ways to ask for a donation.

Our advice is to make it as personal as you can. You want to build a long-term relationship with your donors after you attract them, so invite them to lunch or coffee every time you think about involving them in one of your projects.

It is not easy for anyone to give money away, and people feel the need to be assured that they invest in the right cause, so meet them face-to-face and make them believe in your cause.

3. Built a strong relationship

We cannot stop highlighting the importance of this factor. If you want to attract big donors, make them trust you and engage with your campaign more than once.

Try to know them better. Ask them out for dinner every once in a while, or, even better, organize an event just for them. Except for fundraising, these evenings should also be about having fun, so make sure you entertain your audience.

From our experience, we can tell you that one of the things they like best is illusionism. If you decide on this type of show, let us give you a suggestion: Adam Trent, one of the best illusion artists in the world.

How Can Your Small Nonprofit Attract Big Donors?

4. Aim high

If you want to attract big donors, you must make sure you can meet their expectations. Big donors are hard to get, and they are even harder to convince if you cannot come up with significant goals that are worth investing in.

Remember that these are extremely busy people who have many responsibilities at work. They do not like individuals who waste their time and energy on things that seem insignificant, so give them a reason to get involved in something which is far greater than you or them.

5. Make them part of your project

Don’t think that your job is done once you’ve got their support. Remember that it is essential to start building that powerful relationship we’ve mentioned before. Make sure you can count on the donors you attract for other future projects as well.

If you want to achieve this, get them to participate in your actions by inviting them to see how your team handles day-to-day activities.

Give them a small role each time they show up. It will definitely make them feel more involved and proud that they are not only investing money in your common cause but energy and feelings as well.

6. Make your donors engage

Besides involving them in your actual work, you should also make sure they grasp the full meaning of your campaign. If you want the donors, you attract to be a part of your projects not only financially, but emotionally as well, you have to appeal to strong, personal gratifications.

Make them understand how important their donations are to people whose lives depend on them. Use pictures or videos to get them closer to your cause. If it is possible, help them meet those people in need. This will surely be both appealing and convincing.

We know big donors are not so easy to attract, especially if you are a small nonprofit which has just emerged. However, with the right words and suitable strategy, you can find those people who are willing to invest in your cause.

No matter how long it takes, keep stay positive and be confident.

Things will surely turn out right and, once you get those big donors and want to organize a special night for them, we would be more than happy to help you with our team of professional entertainers.

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