Multi-Channel Digital Fundraising Strategies to Acquire New Donors

By Robin L. Cabral

Robin Cabral
In this day and age, nonprofit development professionals need to do double duty by retaining existing donors while actively acquiring new supporters, and the good news is there are multiple, low-cost ways to help them achieve this dual goal.

It'is one thing to retain current donors, but if you're not constantly acquiring new ones, your donor file will naturally shrink ”“ through donors changing addresses, passing on, or just choosing not to give.

Below are some recommended cost-efficient, multi-channel digital strategies to boost donor acquisition. Following these suggestions will enable you to increase your donor acquisition rate at less cost than if you used traditional methods such as list rentals and other tactics.

  1. Be sure that you have a strong case for support for your fundraising campaign. It all starts here and then develops into what will be a strong donation call to action that has some time-based urgency. A case statement provides a compelling, easily understood description/rationale for why contributed income is needed and how donors will have an impact.

  2. Develop a website pop-up with a strong “donate” call to action to capture information on people who visit your website during your next fundraising campaign. Be sure this pop-up and your website is mobile friendly, especially since many donors visit websites via mobile devices and then make donations . The pop-up does not need to be elaborate, in fact, a simple text-based version has been shown to be more efficient than a graphically laden one. You'll want to collect basic information, e.g., email, phone, affiliation, but don't ask for too much or people will give up.

  3. Add a one-time and a monthly giving call to action on the pop-up. Don’t be shy about asking donors to make an ongoing donation. Many, in fact, appreciate the opportunity, because it allows them to continuously support you while enabling you to increase donor retention, i.e., retaining the donor beyond that first gift or a gift.

  4. Inlcude a “Donate Later” option, as this helps convey the idea that you recognize donors may not be ready to give now while leaving the door open in an unpressured way for them to give later. Then, be sure to email these later on in the campaign, inviting them to support your organization.

  5. Consider obtaining a matching gift for this campaign from either an individual donor or a corporate sponsor. But be sure to tell donors their gift may be matched by a generous donor and ask them to check with their employer to determine if they have a matching gift program.

  6. Conduct a social media ad campaign in tandem with the fundraising campaign to promote this matching gift possibility. If you currently have a large social following on Facebook through a Facebook page, then targeted Facebook ads can be a cost-efficient means of advertising your campaign and driving Facebook traffic back to a campaign landing page. For those who do not have a strong Facebook following, targeted Google ads can work just as effectively.

  7. Consider targeteing ads can to key donor personas. For example, you may want to develop an ad targeted for cat lovers and run it in a newsletter or on a website that caters to these audiences, or on Facebook targeting those who have identified an interest in cats, telling them about your organization addresses their feline concerns, and how supporting your organization will help them achieve their goals.

  8. Use donor management software to create highly segmented and personalized emails for asks. If you don’t have such a system in place, get one before doing anything else. All successful fundraising campaigns, whether aimed at retaining or cultivating donors, are built on understanding who those people are and how they have interacted with your organiztion. A donor management system tracks this information (after you input it) and lets you query it to identify people by any number of characteristics, information you then use to craft highly focused appeals.
Acquisition strategies using digital approaches do not have to be as costly as traditional methods. With today’s increasingly simple technologies, these approaches are easier to implement than in years past.

Stemming donor attrition and attracting new donors is the mark of a healthy development program. A normal donor file experiences natural attritions of 15% each year through donors passing away, moving, or just choosing not to give. If donor acquisition and retention are not focused on, then a development program is slowly decaying.

Robin Cabral, principal of Development Consulting Solutions, is a certified fund raising executive who works with mid-sized nonprofits to build capacity and improve fundraising results. Email her at rcabral@developmentconsultingsolutions.com.

May 2019