1) Leverage the Connections of Your Board MembersBoard members have connections to other philanthropically inclined and wealthy individuals. Ask your donating board members for the names of people who might be interested in your organization. This is a way to gather prospects without putting in hours of work or paying for an outside entity to conduct research. One strategy is to ask board members for donor suggestions during your next board meeting. Put your board members on the spot and ask them to suggest five connections who might be interested in your mission. Many nonprofits view acquiring new donors as reaching out to strangers, but obtaining more donors could be as simple as having a conversation with someone you already know.
2) Ask Loyal Donors to Point You Towards New DonorsConsistent donors may know other people who might be interested in your nonprofit, and all you have to do is ask for names. In addition to requesting names, you can ask loyal donors for referrals, which can work in two ways:
- New prospects contact you — Loyal donors tell their friends about your nonprofit through word of mouth and encourage new prospects to get in touch with you. After the prospects call, you can conduct the relevant prospect research to see if they’re high-quality major gift prospects.
- Loyal donors provide introductions to new prospects — You can’t always trust new prospects to contact you, so you’ll usually need to be the proactive one. However, you can receive an assist from your loyal donors. Ask for introductions to the new people who might be interested in your nonprofit. Personal introductions can help to ensure that new prospects will be receptive to opening dialogues, and your initial connections will be more intimate thanks to your mutual friends.
3) Look at the Annual Reports of Similar NonprofitsLook for other nonprofits with similar causes. People are interested in particular nonprofits for a reason, and if your cause relates to a mission that donors already support then you stand a chance of convincing donors to also give to your nonprofit. Individuals who have made a gift of $5k-$10k are 5 times more likely than the average person to donate to another nonprofit. That donors that have given to other nonprofits are better than completely new donors, and you stand the best chance with donors who support missions such as yours. When you employ prospect research tools, such as DonorSearch’s Gift Search tool, it’s easy to find donor lists. Gift Search allows you to:
- View the causes and organizations that donors support
- Filter donations by state, year, amount, and other criteria
- Access annual reports where donations are named