5 Ideas for Acquiring Donors
Direct mail is a key component of most multi-channel fundraising plans. Charities regularly send mail to their loyal donors, asking them to give or sign up for a monthly donation.
But when you don’t have a huge donor file, putting together a winning solicitation appeal can be the least of your worries. Small organizations often don’t have a donor base who they can turn to. Many need to start from scratch with acquisition campaigns and strategies to get the ball rolling.
Here are 5 ways that you can start building up your donor list:
1. Borrow a list and send a letter
The most popular way to get new donors in the door is to rent or trade lists with like-minded organizations, and mail solicitation letters to these prospective donors. The average response rate for an acquisition letter is 1% – so you’ll have to mail 100 people to get one gift. The initial cost of this strategy can be high, but if you carefully cultivate these donors, they can have significant lifetime value.
2. Hold an event
You’re probably already holding fundraising events, and your guests are ideal warm prospects to give to your organization on a regular basis. Follow up with your event attendees and ask them for a gift once you’ve built a relationship with them.
3. Look at your e-newsletter list
Most charities have an e-newsletter that goes out weekly or monthly. Find out who on that list have not donated yet, and send them a tailored message asking for help. Thank them for their interest in your work, and show them how they can get involved. You can also set up a welcome series for your new e-newsletter sign-ups that ends in an ask. Most email marketing programs will let you automate this.
4. Try an online giving drive
It can be challenging to get your social media followers to donate financially. Test out an online giving drive with an emergency-related ask. Did the boiler break down at your shelter? Ask your online community to help. Make sure the fundraising goal feels achievable. And most importantly, only try this out if you already have a robust online community and are posting to your social media feeds and website on a regular basis.
5. Send a letter to your volunteers
This is a tricky one. Volunteers are already giving their time, aren’t they? But they should also be offered the opportunity to give. Send them personal notes that feel like a thank you, and give them the option to donate. Remind them that you’re already incredibly grateful that they donate their time, and there’s no pressure to give financially.
Most importantly, steward your new donors! It costs much more to acquire a new donor than it does to retain an existing one. Put some stewardship strategies in place, and your donors will be happy!
Cheat Sheets are Charity Savant’s free guides to help you do more with less. They are quick-fix one pagers with easy to digest top-five tips to help you solve almost any problem. Check out our growing list of free Cheat Sheets.