As we reach the end of 2019, reflections and evaluations are at the forefront of everyone’s minds. What is working well? What could we change? How can we grow and create a larger impact? How can we make next year even better?
One of the best ways to increase your impact is to expand your donor base. But I know it’s easier said than done. Here are some tips that might help you branch out from your current base and create some new buzz about your organization. As the new year inches closer, keep these tips in mind.
Finding new donors requires creating a new market.
Think of your nonprofit as a brand. Each brand has a target audience. So how can you shape your brand to appeal to a new target audience while still keeping your current donors? If you target your marketing efforts, it can be easier to appeal to a wider audience. This means choosing your channels and messages wisely.
Strategize your messages.
Different types of people use different channels of media. So start building a profile of your potential new target and think about where they consume their media. Social media is a great start to get the word out and forge new connections. I would recommend Facebook more than anything. If you’re targeting seasoned nonprofit supporters, direct most of your attention there. Ninety-one percent of nonprofit professionals use Facebook to distribute content.
But to reach out to other, newer audiences, consider the types of people who regularly use each platform and plan accordingly. Maybe to appeal to a younger generation, focus more on Instagram instead. From there, go all-in. Have your current staff, board members, and supporters act like cheerleaders for your organization. Have them share your page, retweet your content and comment on your posts.
You should also keep an eye on your competitors. Snoop on their social media pages and pay attention to their messaging trends. Look to see how they’re reaching out to donors. What works? What doesn’t? What can you learn from them?
Start from your circle.
In general, there are three major types of sales:
- Buying a refill, something you’ve already purchased before.
- Switching to a new model/brand/style.
- Buying something for the first time (this one is very rare).
In the long run, it’s much more beneficial to target a person who is already interested in or familiar with your organization than to reach out to someone completely new. The majority of people don’t buy something unless they know it’ll be worth it. That means having some semblance of prior knowledge about the brand or product. People are more likely to donate to something that someone in their circle already supports than to go out on a limb and find a new organization.
A good tactic to get new donors is to start with your current ones. Ask your board members or dedicated supporters to create a map of their personal circles to find people who would potentially be interested. Start asking them to reach out to these like-minded people.
From there, you could simply add them to your mailing list and hope they like what they read. Or you could host a dialogue event. Have donors, old and new, come to an event that celebrates your organization. Talk about your mission, programs, ways to get involved, impact and success stories. Eat, drink and be merry. Then come in with the kicker: “we need you.” Make sure to follow up with everyone who attended to get feedback on the effectiveness of the event. If it was a hit, you’ve got them hooked.