Our Tried and True Guide to Finding New Donors

5 min read
July 09, 2021
Rachel Clepper headshot
Rachel Clepper
Senior Content Marketing Specialist, Neon One
finding new donors: in a crowd of people

In a perfect world, new donor acquisition or finding new donors would be as simple as a sent donation request. Unfortunately, due to increased competition, distractions, and noise, it’s rarely that easy.

The truth is, there is no one best way to get donors. It varies by goal, audience, and organization. However, when you do factor in these variables, there are quite a few ways to narrow down the best donor acquisition strategy for your organization. This is especially true if you have a CRM.

To do this, you need to dig into your data using both qualitative and quantitative research.

The Quantatative for Finding New Donors

Data is a beautiful thing, but sometimes, it can just look like a bunch of numbers. If you’re struggling to make sense of your nonprofit’s stats and figures, use these tips to get a better look at the bigger picture.

1. Identify Data-Backed Opportunities

The best donor acquisition goals will present you with the biggest opportunity to make an impact on your bottom line. While it is possible to identify these opportunities on a hunch, your best bet is to use your data.

A good CRM solution should provide you with an at-a-glance view of your organization’s current performance. For example, Neon CRM’s Mission Control dashboard pulls system data to give you an overview of your nonprofit’s performance. That way, your most important metrics are always one click away.

Are you a Neon CRM client? Learn how to access KPIs in your CRM system.

Read the Support Article

Having these numbers readily available can provide you with the additional insights needed to make better decisions for your nonprofit.

Still overwhelmed? We’ve got a list of the best nonprofit KPIs and metrics to track. Give it a read.

2. Translate Numbers Into Insights  

After you get the data, what do you do with it?

When it comes to finding new donors, your nonprofit’s data can give you confirmation on what has worked in the past and hints on what might work in the future.

Consider this example: say you’ve pulled your data and found that a month ago, you experienced a significant spike in your new donor acquisition rate after hosting an on-site event where potential donors were able to meet with staff and hear constituent testimonials. This proves that the event and all its details inspired new people to invest in your mission.

Analyzing spikes and dips in your donor acquisition stats can provide you with a deeper understanding of what works for your mission, making deciding on the next steps much easier.

Keeping a close eye on this data helps us get to the core of how you can better engage your supporters.

The Qualatative for Finding New Donors

If quantitative research widens your insights, then qualitative research deepens them.

While it will likely require a bit more of your time, it will also provide you with a better understanding of your donor’s decision process. Here’s how to do it:

1. Reach-Out to Your First-Time Donors

What’s the best way to get an answer to a question? Easy — just ask someone. And if your question is, “what is driving new people to donate to my organization?” those ‘someones’ should be recent first-time donors.

Reach out to a few people who have recently donated to your organization for the first time and ask why they chose to make their donation. That way, you’ll be able to drill down on the exact detail that made them give.

You can also send out a virtual survey to your first-time donors to streamline the process.

But don’t wait too long to ask. Just like the timing of your “thank-you messages,” you don’t want to wait months to ask about their reasons for donating or engaging with your organization. Better yet, include the question or survey in your thank you for the donation.

#NeonNonprofitTip: Use your outreach as an opportunity to practice good donor stewardship. Give a sincere thank you, then ask if they would mind answering a few questions about their donation experience.

2. Create Donor Personas

A donor persona is a fictional representation of a particular segment of your audience. They are built using the insights gathered from your qualitative research and can be supplemented using quantitative data.

So how do these help with identifying potential donors? Simple — when your audience is clearly segmented, it’s easier to understand how those segments traditionally discover your organization and convert into donors.  

Once you have a grasp on that, it’s all a matter of optimizing and improving those experiences.

Click here for a deeper dive into establishing donor personas.

Get Started Finding New Donors

Combining your quantitative data with qualitative insights from your CRM will give you a more comprehensive understanding of how to best find and attract new potential donors. Once you have that, the rest is simply a matter of testing and fine-tuning.

After looking through the data, you may even find a variety of names in your database that have not yet donated to your cause but have interacted with you in other ways. Examples of that are donors, in-person or online event attendees, and your newsletter list. That’s why your CRM is the best place to look to find new donors.

We all know that the hard work isn’t over once you find new donors. There is a lot you need to do to cultivate lasting donor relationships that grow over time.

That’s why we’ve put together a moves management guide to help you develop a strategy to move one-time donors to deeper levels of engagement with your nonprofits.

Turn Your One-Time Donors into Major Donors

Get the Moves Management Guide

How do you take the guesswork out of finding new donors? If you have any tips you’d like to share, leave them in the comments below!


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