The Earth has 196,940,000 square miles of total surface area, and, unless you have a teleportation device, your fundraising team can’t cover it all. The most convenient place to look for new donors is on your street, around the corner, and other places within your city or state. As with those who desire fresh vegetables, it’s best to stay local to get what you want.
Unlike fresh vegetables, money won’t conveniently spring up from the ground. You need to be proactive to get new donors. Proactive as in don’t just jump through hoops. Jump through rings of fire to land where new donors live. And don’t merely take the long road. Dare to trek across frozen tundras in order to find greener pastures. Don’t think that finding new donors will always be difficult, but do realize that donor acquisition takes both decisive action and a dedication to reaching for new opportunities.
To get your nonprofit started, here are four strategies to find new donors in your area:
1) Leverage the Connections of Your Board Members
Board 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 Donors
Consistent 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.
As you can see, it’s essential to take advantage of who you already know in order to meet new major gift prospects.
3) Look at the Annual Reports of Similar Nonprofits
Look 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
Annual reports help you discover the actual names of supporters who will either become major gift prospects or connect you to others who will become prospects. Many organizations categorize their donors according to donation size, so it should be easy to identify who the major gift prospects are for other organizations.
4) Look at the Donor Lists for Other Local Nonprofits
Reach out to the donors of other local organizations. Many donors want to support local nonprofits and won’t pigeonhole themselves to specific causes.
DonorSearch’s Prospect Generator allows you to go beyond donor lists to learn more about specific donations and organizations. You can search by zip code and distance, so you’re only bringing in information that pertains to the geographic location of your concern.
You can look for a number of similarities between your organization and others in order to pursue new donors, but remember to make sure that major gift prospects care about the similarities you find so they actually form a connection with your organization. For example, a prospect who cares about your mission but not about your location won’t respond well to a pitch based on the importance of giving to local organizations.
You don’t need to reinvent fundraising. Just follow a determined plan to find new donors near you. Learn how prospect research from DonorSearch can help by scheduling a demo today.