Giving trends in the nonprofit sector are reflecting larger economic patterns. While the total revenue raised on GivingTuesday 2023 showed a small increase compared to 2022, the number of donors dropped by 10%. This and other similar trends could be cause for concern as your donors and development team alike contend with inflation and concerns about the future of the economy.

Although they aren’t favorable, these findings shouldn’t cause your organization to panic. Instead, focus on preparing for whatever the future holds by protecting and diversifying your revenue streams. One way to do this is by strengthening and personalizing your digital marketing efforts to appeal to your supporters’ unique giving motivations, boosting donations.

We’ll explore some of the top strategies you can use to inspire more support for your cause using segmentation—but first, let’s cover the basics of this process.

Donor Segmentation Basics

GivingDNA’s guide to donor segmentation defines the term as “a strategy that nonprofits use to separate a donor base into smaller subgroups based on shared traits and characteristics.” Segmenting donors helps you break down your full donor database into more manageable subgroups.

By uncovering distinct preferences and interests through external data insights, you can create segments based on those details that will help you develop more targeted, tailored communications. These groups, or segments, can be based on a variety of characteristics. Some of the most common categories include:

  • Demographic data like age, gender, geographic location, income, and more.
  • Psychographic data, which denotes information about the donors’ lifestyles, interests, hobbies, and values.
  • Giving behavior like gift size, frequency, and recency.
  • Communication preferences, such as preferred communication channels, frequency, and content formats.
  • Engagement history, which reflects donors’ interactions with your communications, attendance at events, volunteer hours, and more.

These categories simply provide a starting point for your nonprofit. Depending on your unique needs, goals, and projects, you might experiment with more niche or specific segments.

4 Ways to Inspire Donations Using Donor Segmentation

Start with an RFM analysis.

An RFM analysis segments your donors based on the recency, frequency, and monetary value of their donations. This type of analysis can help your nonprofit identify the donors who are most likely to give. This way, you’ll gain a baseline understanding of your donor base and be able to allocate your marketing resources efficiently.

Here is a breakdown of each component of the RFM model:

  • Recency: This refers to the amount of time that has passed since the supporter’s last donation. For example, perhaps they made an online gift two months ago after being inspired by your email marketing campaign.
  • Frequency: This metric indicates the number of times a donor gives, usually within the last 36 months or so, representing how often they donate. Some may only give once a year or less, while members of your sustainer program donate each month.
  • Monetary value: This tracks the amount of money a donor contributes to your cause. The best way to calculate this value is to find the donor’s median gift size over a certain time period, either five years or whenever you acquired the donor.

From here, score donors based on each of these components and then filter them into the appropriate segments. For example, let’s say you have a donor who gave three months ago, donates twice per year, and usually gives slightly more than your organization-wide average gift amount. This donor would have a high RFM score and should be placed in a segment for donors who are likely to donate in response to your marketing efforts.

While RFM analyses can be a great place to start, they only provide limited insight. These analyses can help you forecast how donors will respond to your appeals, but they are purely based on past behaviors. Additionally, the RFM model excludes many other important dimensions of donor behavior, particularly why they give.

Examine interests and psychographic characteristics.

Given the limitations of the RFM model, you’ll also need to learn why donors choose to support your cause. When you’ve uncovered their deeper motivations and personal connections to the issue, you can infer which stories, strategies, and appeals would be most effective in your marketing campaigns.

For example, let’s say a healthcare organization that researches multiple sclerosis (MS) and provides services to those battling the disease wants to dig deeper into why donors support the cause. Here is how this organization could use common psychographic traits to segment and appeal to donors:

  • Lifestyle: There is a wide variety of lifestyle factors to consider, such as donors’ opinions, attitudes, social class, and personality. For example, are they adventurous risk-takers or conservative and family-oriented? The healthcare organization decides to segment donors based on their activity level and shares appeals that highlight the importance of mobility in quality of life to those who like to exercise and get outside.
  • Hobbies and interests: This includes the things that donors like to spend doing in their free time, such as golfing, hiking, cooking, creative writing, or volunteering. The nonprofit creates a segment of donors who are passionate about nutrition and healthy, home-cooked meals. Then, it shares educational resources about nutrition, promotes tickets to a healthy cooking workshop, and invites supporters to participate in a recipe contest.
  • Values and beliefs: Understanding donors’ values and belief systems will help you appeal to their sense of purpose. For instance, our example nonprofit could find that many of its donors believe strongly in equality and social justice. In this case, the organization could target the segment with appeals that highlight how its work and research work to address healthcare disparities and provide desperately needed services to those with MS.

For most people, their values, beliefs, and interests are deeply ingrained in who they are. So, you’ll be able to rely on insights from these segments for much longer than other traits that are subject to change (e.g., income), which can help you run profitable fundraising initiatives long into the future.

Track donor lifecycles.

Your donors pass through several distinct phases or “seasons” in their interactions with your nonprofit. Together, these phases make up the donor lifecycle, a process that encapsulates donors’ journey from discovering your nonprofit and donating for the first time to upgrading their support.

Understanding where donors fall in this lifecycle is crucial for properly welcoming new supporters, creating donor stewardship strategies, cultivating major donors, and motivating lapsed donors to re-engage. For example, let’s say you create segments for first-time donors, multi-year donors, and those who haven’t given in the last year. Here is how your communication strategies might differ for each segment:

  • First-time donors: Start with a heartfelt thank-you, then aim to welcome these donors and educate them about your cause. Share a welcome email series or mail them a packet with materials they need to get to know your organization. Inform them of other ways to get involved to encourage them to engage more deeply. Carefully track data about this segment’s preferences and responses to messages to improve your recruitment efforts.
  • Multi-year, active donors: During this phase, focus on stewarding your relationships with donors with the eventual goal of an upgrade. Keep your nonprofit on their minds by frequently communicating with them through their preferred channels. Make sure these messages also consider the other traits we’ve discussed. For example, invite them to fundraising events happening in their local area or share about initiatives that appeal to their special interests.
  • Donors at risk of lapsing: These donors haven’t engaged with your nonprofit in a while—it’s up to you to determine why that is and inspire them to come back! Try sharing a survey asking them why they no longer support your organization to pinpoint weak points in your strategy. This segment likely won’t respond to demands for donations. Instead, start with smaller, more doable asks (e.g., reading a blog post about a specific beneficiary). Ask them to come back, whether they are attending an event, volunteering, or donating.

Knowing where your donors are in their journey not only boosts retention and revenue—it also shows them that you notice and care when they make that first gift or haven’t engaged in a while. They’ll feel valued for their individual efforts to support your work and seen as more than just a dollar sign.

Create donor personas.

Donor personas are profiles of fictional people who represent your target audience(s). Personas are designed to encapsulate the main traits and motivations of each donor segment, giving you a clear image of who those supporters are and what pushes them to take action.

For example, here’s a donor persona for a fictional donor named Clara Thompson:

Sample donor persona (interpreted in text below).

Based on this persona, your team could extrapolate insights about the segment’s preferences. For example, someone like Clara who travels often, leads a busy life, and is passionate about technology would likely respond best to digital communications that make it quick and easy to donate. However, you may have another segment of retired seniors who would rather receive monthly updates via direct mail.

Referencing your entire donor database is important—this shows you organization-wide patterns you might otherwise miss. However, donor segmentation is an invaluable tool that will only become more important as hyper-personalized marketing becomes the norm. Applying these segmentation strategies to your marketing campaigns will give you the knowledge and ability to target donors with messages that feel made for them.

As a nonprofit professional, you know there is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing, donor communications, or fundraising. That’s because the most effective tactics for attracting support and securing gifts depend on your specific mission, resources, and audience. Many organizations turn to donor analytics to better understand how they can refine their strategies and maximize results.

If you’re looking for insights to improve your marketing initiatives and expand your reach, integrating your constituent relationship management system (CRM) and your marketing tools can be a game changer. In this guide, we’ll walk through the following advantages of doing so:

  1. Produce marketing materials that resonate with donors.
  2. Focus on the most effective marketing channels.
  3. Improve donor follow-up communications.

By integrating your donor database with your marketing technology, you’ll be able to connect these tools and streamline the process of leveraging donor data to supercharge your marketing activities. Let’s explore how your nonprofit can benefit from these integrations.

Various useful integrations that nonprofits should implement with their donor database.

1. Produce marketing materials that resonate with donors.

With so much content floating around online, it’s not enough for donors to merely consume your nonprofit’s social media posts and blog articles—you need to find ways to spark their interest and inspire them to take action.

An integration between your CRM and marketing tools allows you to leverage the information you’ve collected about your donors to create accurate audience personas. Personas are fictional representations of the different types of donors in your nonprofit’s audience.

These profiles are based on shared characteristics such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Interests/Motivations
  • Communication Preferences
  • Average Gift Size

For example, an animal welfare nonprofit might have one persona outlining the traits, interests, and behaviors of older, major donors and another persona defining its younger, recurring donors.

To connect with its major donor persona, the nonprofit might realize that many of these individuals have large social networks of people who are passionate about animal welfare. As a result, they may reach out via emails or phone calls to see if these donors are interested in becoming a challenge donor, where they’ll make a significant gift if the organization manages to meet a predetermined fundraising campaign goal.

To engage their recurring donor persona, the marketing team could create more social media posts related to involvement opportunities such as volunteering at adoption events or becoming a peer-to-peer fundraiser, since these individuals are more likely to frequent these platforms and may not have as much of a capacity to make larger gifts to the nonprofit.

2. Focus on the most effective marketing channels.

In addition to informing how your nonprofit approaches donor segmentation, integrating your donor database and marketing tools ensures that you allocate your time and resources to the most impactful channels. By tracking and referencing donor engagement on each channel, you can determine which platforms you should focus your efforts on.

For instance, consider the following popular marketing channels and common methods to assess engagement on them:

  • Email. Whether you’re sending out a weekly newsletter or following up to say “thank you” for a donation, email is a tried-and-true way to connect with your nonprofit’s audience. Keep an eye on metrics such as your open rate, click-through rate, and unsubscribe rate to gauge whether donors are interested in your email content.
  • Social Media. From Facebook to Instagram to TikTok, there are numerous social media platforms your nonprofit can use to develop an active presence. However, different members of your audience will have different platforms they prefer. Evaluate your follower counts, impressions, and number of likes and comments to identify which platforms receive the most engagement from your donors.
  • Website. 68% of nonprofits surveyed by Nonprofit Tech for Good have redesigned their website in the last three years. Your website is often the first place prospective and current donors go to find more information about your nonprofit. Keep tabs on the number of new vs. returning visitors, bounce rate, and average session duration to analyze whether your website content appeals to your audience.
  • Direct Mail. Sending direct mail to your donors can be a powerful way to leave a lasting impression on them. Physical letters add a personal touch to your nonprofit’s communications, allowing you to keep your mission at the top of your recipients’ minds. Measure your return on investment (ROI) by reviewing your conversion rate, average donation amount, and donor acquisition cost.

As these numbers shift over time, you can adjust your marketing strategy and evaluate whether the changes you made are paying off. Repeat this process of improving and assessing to boost your results in the long run.

3. Improve donor follow-up communications.

According to Bloomerang’s donation page best practices, you should go beyond a simple gift confirmation page when it comes to appreciating donors for their contributions. With an integration between your donor management software and marketing tools, you can automate follow-up emails that are prompt and personalized with each recipient’s name.

To make a lasting impression with your automated thank-you communications, follow these tips:

  • Set the email to send within 48 hours after the donor makes a gift.
  • Craft an eye-catching subject line that is no longer than 60 characters.
  • Specify the impact of the donor’s gift, such as “Your generous donation will go toward providing veterinary care for our three newest parakeet rescues.”
  • Include compelling images that represent your mission.

Additionally, based on their engagement and giving history, you can share other involvement opportunities that are most likely to resonate with the donor. For example, if you find that one donor enjoys interacting with your nonprofit on social media and has a large online network, you might invite them to launch a birthday fundraiser on your behalf. Or, if another donor attends the majority of your events, you might suggest that they volunteer at your next fundraiser.

Integrating your donor database and marketing tools means that you can leverage more data insights to enhance your outreach, connect more deeply with donors, and ultimately boost your fundraising results. Consult with your CRM provider to explore available integration options and start tapping into the power of your donor data.

Walk-a-thons are simple and affordable to organize, encourage participants to get outside, and can even engage individuals outside your school’s community. Plus, this versatile idea will work for many age levels and groups, from baseball teams to high school marching bands to general school-wide campaigns. With all these benefits, it makes sense that so many schools choose walk-a-thon fundraisers.

But selecting a fundraising idea that everyone is excited about is just half the battle—the other half is promoting your walk-a-thon to attract the participants, donors, and volunteers you need to meet your goals. In this guide, we’ll explore the four top strategies you need to build a solid marketing foundation and make your event a success. Let’s get started!

1. Take a peer-to-peer approach.

Peer-to-peer fundraising (P2P) is a form of crowdfunding in which your supporters promote your campaign and fundraise on your behalf. Typically, participants share your fundraiser online with their family members and friends. This means that your school will have help from dozens of supporters when promoting the campaign.

As a result, P2P fundraising helps your school reach a larger audience, raise more support from new donors, and strengthen relationships with existing supporters by giving them a way to engage more deeply.

Often, schools encourage students to collect pledged donations from their personal networks. These donations are collected after the fundraiser ends. Here’s 99Pledges’s breakdown of the process:

  1. Your school launches its peer-to-peer, pledge fundraising campaign (in this case, a walk-a-thon).
  2. Students receive personal donation pages in addition to a school-wide donation page.
  3. Students share their donation page links with friends and family to collect pledge donations. For a walk-a-thon, they might collect pledged gifts of $5 per mile walked.
  4. After the fundraiser ends, the pledges are donated to your school! For example, if the student walked three miles, they’ll receive $15 from each donor.

Make it easy for participants to spread the word about your fundraiser with dedicated walk-a-thon software or pledge fundraising tools. A solution that specializes in these types of events will be able to provide each of your registered walkers with a pledge page, which they can then easily share.

Encourage your walkers to actively promote their pledge pages to help your school tap into new audiences. Ask your students and families to share them through social media posts and emails, including their personalized fundraising appeals or stories about what your school means to them. Hearing their motivations and reasons to contribute will help put a face to the cause.

2. Use multiple communication channels.

As you and your walkers promote your walk-a-thon, use multiple communication channels to maximize your reach. For instance, most marketing strategies typically rely on both digital and physical outlets to spread the word about campaigns and events:

  • Social media: Your first step is to promote your walk-a-thon on your organization’s main profile pages. Include a link directly to your event page so interested individuals can sign up to walk or make a pledge. Then, encourage your walkers to focus on social media as well. Their friends and families are likely checking these feeds very frequently.
  • Email: Send announcements, appeals, and digital fundraising cards or event invites to your school’s broader community. Include clear instructions for getting involved or donating and links to relevant landing pages. Encourage your walkers (or their parents) to share their personal fundraising pages via email, too. Provide them with pledge request email templates so they don’t have to write marketing messages from scratch.
  • SMS: Connect with your supporters via text messages. Share reminders to donate, updates about the walk-a-thon event, and links to your website or donation page. Text messages are a great way to re-engage any individuals who may have viewed your donation page but not completed it.
  • Print media: Don’t forget about traditional marketing tactics like flyers, posters, and direct mail. Hand out flyers at school and in community hubs (e.g., public libraries) and ask local businesses if you can hang promotional posters in their windows. Direct mail, which is delivered to supporters’ homes, is a great way to engage with older generations and make your efforts feel more personal and trustworthy.

If your school has room in its budget, you can also leverage paid advertising like Google Ads. These are the ads that are marked as “Sponsored” and appear at the top of the search engine results page.

Google does offer a grant program in which qualifying nonprofit organizations receive $10,000 in free Google Ad credits each month. Educational institutions are not eligible for the grant—however, PTAs or booster clubs registered as 501(c)(3) charities could be. Working with a dedicated Google Ad Grant agency can help you determine eligibility, apply for, and manage the grant.

3. Offer special perks and shout-outs.

A prize or reward helps boost the energy and anticipation leading up to your walk-a-thon event! Offer perks like branded t-shirts, water bottles, and more to walkers and donors to inspire extra giving and engagement. Plus, adding your school’s branding to these items will help spread awareness of your campaign when people wear or use them around town.

Aside from using this technique to build anticipation for your event, you can also use it as a recognition strategy. For example, a water bottle or t-shirt given to someone as a thank-you for making and fulfilling a pledge can go a long way. Or, you might shout out top donors on your website or social media platforms to show your appreciation. These efforts will help you retain more supporters for the next campaign by making them feel acknowledged and valued.

Additionally, consider giving your hardworking walkers, event volunteers, PTA members, and donors public shout-outs as well (with their permission). Post about them on your social media profiles and encourage plenty of likes and shares.

4. Establish a sense of urgency.

Your supporters lead busy lives, which can result in them seeing a promotional message for your campaign and deciding to give at a later time. However, Allegiance Group + Pursuant’s guide to maximizing donations points out that this “later” can turn into a “never.” To break supporters out of these complacent attitudes, create a sense of urgency for your event.

Here are some examples of how your school can infuse urgency into its walk-a-thon promotions:

  • Offer limited-time registration for those participating in the walk-a-thon. This will ensure students register early and have plenty of time to fundraise.
  • Use time-bound goals. Let’s say your school needs to reach its walk-a-thon fundraising goal to purchase a new edition of textbooks in time for the start of the new school year. Spell out this need to your audience and emphasize that your goal needs to be met before the school year starts.
  • Gamify the fundraising process and offer incentives to top fundraisers and donors. For example, create live, public leaderboards that show how much each student has raised. This will incite friendly competition that results in more funding for your school.
  • Set up countdown timers and fundraising thermometers to show how much time you have left to reach your goal. These are especially helpful when you start closing in on your deadline.

Many of your potential supporters may intend to donate or participate in your walk-a-thon but may forget about taking action before the campaign ends. These tactics will motivate them to get involved as soon as possible, helping you garner more support.

As a school, you can promote your walk-a-thon through your own social media pages and urge participants to spread the word as well. By encouraging your community to get involved in the fundraising process, you’ll make them feel like valued members of your school’s team, get them excited about participating in future campaigns, and encourage them to get outside and exercise!

Successful fundraising is all about harnessing the power of a community. Whether you’re a nonprofit raising funds to run its programs or an individual collecting donations for a personal need, crowdfunding campaigns open the door to worldwide support. Anyone who lands on your campaign page can read about your cause and donate with just a few clicks or taps on their device.

But with so much going on across the Internet and so many worthy causes vying for attention, how do you make your online fundraising efforts stand out? In this guide, we’ll walk through five essential practices to incorporate into your next crowdfunding campaign to attract more donors and surpass your fundraising goal.

1. Choose a crowdfunding platform that fits your needs.

Think of a crowdfunding platform as a blank canvas. With the right type and quality, you can put together a campaign that’s nothing short of fine art. Not every platform will have all the tools and features to fit your specific needs. That’s why it’s important to research all of your options, beyond commonly known websites such as GoFundMe.

Keep these considerations in mind when exploring potential crowdfunding platforms:

  • Pricing. Even “free” crowdfunding websites likely come with platform and payment processing fees. Look for a platform that takes only a reasonable and relatively low percentage from the donations you earn so you can get as much out of your fundraising efforts as possible.
  • User experience. Choose a crowdfunding platform that’s easy for both you and your donors to use. You should be able to create an engaging campaign page and begin promoting it within minutes. At the same time, donors should be able to enjoy a streamlined giving process that allows them to make secure payments and even schedule recurring gifts.
  • Integrations. Ensure that your crowdfunding platform can easily integrate with your email marketing, social media, and matching gift tools so you can connect everything you need to support your campaign.
  • Engagement tools. On some crowdfunding platforms, you can take your campaign to the next level by adding a fundraising thermometer to your donation page, enabling peer-to-peer fundraising on your behalf, and planning events.

Note that some platforms have a “Keep it All” (KiA) model while others have an “All or Nothing” (AoN) model. If you start a KiA campaign, you’ll be able to receive the funds you earn,  regardless of whether you meet your specified fundraising goal. However, with an AoN campaign, you can only collect your donations if you hit your goal.

2. Send targeted donation appeals.

Crowdfunding campaigns rely on securing modest gifts from a large number of donors to succeed. To encourage them to support your campaign, you need to find ways to appeal to donors’ individual interests, motivations, and preferences. Most nonprofits have access to this key information in their donor database.

To identify the most effective ways to reach out to your donors, consider their:

  • Engagement history. How long have they been involved with your organization? Have they attended an event, signed up for a newsletter, or served as a volunteer before?
  • Past gifts. Have they donated before? If so, what is their average gift size? How frequently do they give?
  • Communication preferences. How do they typically interact with your nonprofit? Do they seem to respond best to emails, text messages, or social media updates?

Sort your audience members according to these details, and adjust your donation appeals to resonate with each group. For example, if you have donors who typically give $25, you might send them an email discussing your crowdfunding campaign and inviting them to help you reach your goal by contributing $30. While this amount is slightly higher than what they usually contribute, it encourages more generosity while still being appropriate based on their giving history.

3. Create suggested giving levels.

Before donors decide to support your crowdfunding campaign, many of them want to know how their gifts will make an impact. To inspire more generosity, add suggested giving levels to your donation page.

For instance, let’s say that your nonprofit animal shelter has just experienced a natural disaster in its local community. To care for the influx of animals that have come through your doors, you’ve launched an emergency crowdfunding campaign. On your donation page, you might then share that:

  • A $25 donation will feed one of our shelter animals for a week.
  • A $100 donation will cover medical exams and x-rays for one animal.
  • A $250 donation will fund 25 doses of antibiotics treatment.
  • A $500 donation will help provide emergency surgeries for rescued animals.

By including suggested giving levels on your crowdfunding page, you can make sure each prospective donor knows exactly how you’ll use their gift and the type of impact they’ll make. This makes them more likely to support your campaign and potentially make a larger gift than they would have otherwise.

4. Promote matching gifts.

Many donors who give to nonprofit crowdfunding campaigns have the opportunity to make their gifts go twice as far. Thanks to the rising importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) among today’s companies, many businesses will match the donations their employees make to charitable organizations through matching gift programs.

Fundly’s guide to donation requests compiles several key statistics that illustrate exactly how popular corporate giving is becoming:

Statistics that indicate the rise of corporate giving, as mentioned in the text below.

  • 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer a matching gift program.
  • 40% of Fortune 500 companies offer volunteer grant programs.
  • Corporations gave more than $21 billion to nonprofits in 2022.
  • Microsoft has the world’s highest matching gift program engagement with 65% of employees participating.
  • 94% of major U.S. corporations plan to heighten or maintain their charitable giving in the next few years.

However, your donors first have to be aware of this opportunity to be able to submit a matching gift request on your behalf. Start by including a brief description on your donation page, encouraging donors to check their eligibility with their employer. Then, promote matching gifts alongside your crowdfunding campaign in social media posts, email newsletters, and text messages to maximize awareness.

5. Thank all of your donors.

Your crowdfunding campaign’s follow-up strategy can pave the way for more successful campaigns in the future. By taking the time to thank all of your donors, you can retain their support for whatever fundraising needs you may have down the road.

While your crowdfunding platform should automatically send donation receipts that confirm each transaction and share a quick thank-you message, that’s the bare minimum you should do. To demonstrate to donors how much you value their contributions, consider:

  • Posting social media shoutouts.
  • Producing a thank-you video.
  • Creating a digital donor wall.
  • Sending personalized eCards.

According to eCardWidget, eCards are a cost-effective, eye-catching, and versatile way to connect with your donors in various ways. Beyond thanking them for their support, you can send them birthday wishes, holiday greetings, and event invitations. Plus, you can even sell them in an eStore as an additional way to raise funds.

No matter what you’re fundraising for, crowdfunding can help you raise the money you need—as long as you take a thoughtful approach to choosing a platform and engaging your donors.

Throughout your campaign, keep an eye on metrics such as your total number of donors, average gift size, and the time it takes to reach your fundraising goal to assess your progress. By approaching each campaign as a learning opportunity, you’ll be able to improve your results and collect more online donations in no time.

Corporate sponsorships are beneficial for nonprofits for various reasons, the largest of which is increased financial support for their mission. Plus, with funding from donors and sponsors, nonprofits will be able to diversify their revenue streams, resulting in a more sustainable financial future.

If you’re looking for tips to secure more sponsorships for your organization, you’re in the right place. With this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to acquire future partnerships, regardless of whether you need them for funding an event, community program, or your next capital campaign.

1. Understand the benefits of sponsorship for businesses.

A sponsorship is a partnership, not a donation, which means that your nonprofit needs to make it worthwhile for potential sponsors. This means offering benefits businesses would find valuable in exchange for their funds. To do that, you need to understand the motivations of organizations that sponsor nonprofits.

Generally, sponsors are looking for the following benefits:

  • Greater brand visibility. According to MassageBook, it’s common for two or more businesses to partner to gain access to the others’ audiences. This means that businesses are specifically looking to sponsor other organizations, like nonprofits, that can increase the visibility of their brand, products, and services, resulting in more customers.
  • Improved reputation. In today’s competitive business environment, companies are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to set themselves apart from their competitors. Supporting a charitable cause will help them improve their reputation as a socially responsible enterprise. Plus, studies have shown that consumers are four to six times more likely to purchase from purpose-driven companies, making a nonprofit partnership even more valuable for businesses.

As you develop your corporate sponsorship strategy, keep these benefits in mind. Focus your communications and proposals on what you can do to form a mutually beneficial partnership that helps you both secure a sustainable financial future.

2. Offer a variety of sponsorship packages.

Sponsorships shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all. Businesses will have different partnership needs and different financial capacities to give. To accommodate these needs, Double the Donation recommends offering various sponsorship levels and packages. Then, potential sponsors can choose how deeply they’d like to get involved with your nonprofit based on these levels.

For best results, clearly outline the benefits your sponsor will receive in exchange for their sponsorship amount. Here’s an example of what you might offer an event sponsor in exchange for their funds:

  • Basic package ($1,000): Acknowledgement of sponsorship in end-of-event thank-you communications.
  • Bronze package ($5,000): Sponsor’s logo added to the event webpage and perk from the previous sponsorship level.
  • Silver package ($10,000): Sponsor’s logo incorporated in event marketing materials, messages, and communications, and all perks from previous sponsorship levels.
  • Gold package ($25,000): Sponsor’s logo prominently displayed on all event materials (including signage and banners), dedicated public thank-you messages on social media posts and email newsletters, complimentary event tickets for company representatives, and all perks from previous sponsorship levels.
  • Platinum package ($50,000): Recognition as a top sponsor of the event, verbal thank-yous during event announcements and in the event’s ending speech, access to VIP events for company representatives, and all perks from previous sponsorship levels.

For instance, a local massage business may be interested in sponsoring your event. However, if they’re newly established, they probably don’t have a lot of extra funds to spare. That’s where your basic sponsorship package comes in—with it, you’ll be able to capture a partnership with this business at a level they’re comfortable with and you benefit from.

3. Thoroughly research potential sponsors.

Unfortunately, not all businesses will be interested in sponsoring your nonprofit. To save your staff members time on proposing sponsorships to organizations that probably won’t be interested, thoroughly research any potential sponsors. In particular, pay attention to if they:

  • Operate in your community. If the business operates in the same community as your nonprofit, this commonality increases the likelihood that they’ll partner with you.
  • Work in a similar vertical. If your nonprofit and the business share a vertical, then it’s likely there’s some overlap between your audiences. A partnership with your organization will give the business another touchpoint with its audience, increasing visibility.
  • Are charitably-inclined. Look for businesses that participate in corporate philanthropy in some way. This could mean they’ve previously sponsored a nonprofit, have a dedicated corporate giving program, or have social good initiatives for their operations.
  • Have the capacity to give. If a business is struggling, its funds will be reserved for its operations. When identifying potential sponsors, look for markers that show the business is doing well and will have extra funds for opportunities such as a nonprofit sponsorship.

Keep an eye out for these generosity indicators to help you determine which businesses are worth pursuing for sponsorships. After you’ve pinpointed a list of qualified candidates, send out sponsorship letters that clearly outline what you and the potential sponsor will receive from your partnership.

4. Don’t overlook in-kind sponsorship.

When most nonprofits discuss sponsorships, they’re usually thinking of receiving funds from businesses. However, in-kind sponsorships can be just as useful and save your nonprofit from spending your hard-earned revenue.

Much like in-kind donations, in-kind sponsorships refer to partnerships where the sponsor provides non-financial benefits like goods or services. This is another way to capture a partnership with an organization that may not have the financial means to sponsor your nonprofit but has other offerings you can benefit from.

For example, let’s say you’re planning a black-tie fundraising gala and you need a suitable event venue. Instead of renting a venue for potentially thousands of dollars, you can contact hotels, country clubs, and other event centers and ask them if they’d be willing to sponsor your event. In exchange for marketing benefits, your nonprofit will be able to use the sponsor’s facilities for free or at a discounted rate.

Or, if your nonprofit is looking to upgrade your tech stack, you may seek out a sponsorship from a company that works in developing business software. Employees from this business can consult with you about your software needs and configure your existing software to better fit your preferences. This is especially helpful if your nonprofit doesn’t employ any particularly tech-savvy staff members.

As you connect with potential sponsors, be sure to steward them just as you would your supporters. Even if a sponsor turns down your request, it’s still worthwhile to stay in communication, as they may be open to a future partnership. For sponsors that accept your request, keep them apprised of the program or event they’re sponsoring. And be sure to update them on how their generosity has impacted your nonprofit!

Whether you’re fundraising for a new program or securing funds for your capital campaign, events are essential for nonprofit fundraising. However, with over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the U.S. alone, your organization must set itself apart from others through its events.

We’ve put together this guide to help you plan a nonprofit fundraising event sure to thrill attendees and encourage their generous support. Whether you’re planning an in-person, virtual, or hybrid event, you’ll benefit from these best practices.

1. Create a memorable experience.

Most nonprofits aim to create a memorable event experience, but that’s much easier said than done. Here are our suggestions for doing so:

  • Send personalized invitations. Set your event apart by sending visually appealing invitations through direct mail and email. To cut down on costs, you can design a special eCard invitation that potential attendees can open to simulate the feeling of receiving a physical invitation. Be sure to include the RSVP link or QR code directly in the invitation.
  • Prioritize inclusivity and accessibility: Ensure all attendees can make the most out of their experience by approaching the event with universal design in mind. This means making your event accessible to all, such as through adding subtitles to visual and video elements, ensuring that your venue is accessible for mobility-challenged attendees, providing allergen-free food and non-alcoholic drink options, and more.

Ultimately, the key to making your event memorable is offering a high-quality and unique experience. Start by ensuring that your event is high-quality, meaning well-organized and entertaining. Then, consider what sets your nonprofit apart from all the others, and use that to jump into the rest of your event planning. Ensure that your event’s activities reflect your mission and cause to create an immersive experience for your donors.

2. Flesh out your budget with sponsorships.

If you’re interested in planning an event that’s outside of your nonprofit’s budget or just want to save your hard-earned funds, reach out to potential sponsors ahead of time to see if they’d be willing to financially support your event. Since you’re likely planning your event well in advance of the actual date, this will give you time to downsize your activities should you not acquire the requested funds.

When it comes to contacting potential sponsors, start with the following organizations:

  • Local businesses
  • Charitable-minded corporations
  • Other nonprofits

Many smaller nonprofits struggle with sponsorship outreach due to a lack of know-how. If your nonprofit shares this struggle, Elevate recommends fundraising books as a top learning resource. With the right books, you’ll learn how to harness the power of sponsorships and other forms of major giving for your mission.

3. Leverage event technology.

While it’s possible to run an event without using much technology, many tools exist to simplify your event planning and event activities. Maximize your fundraising and take work off your team members’ plates with these tools:

  • Event management solutions. Offer convenient online registration and ticketing to simplify sign-up. Plus, you can use these solutions to communicate with attendees before and after the event with reminders of tasks to complete and “thank you for attending” messages.
  • Mobile event apps. For larger fundraising events, attendees can benefit from downloading a mobile event app. Include information about specific activities, your event schedule, and an event map to ensure attendees can participate in the activities they want to.
  • Marketing tools. Promote your event through various communication channels, such as email, text messages, social media, and more. The right solution will also empower you to manage all your marketing efforts simultaneously so you can develop a cohesive marketing plan to attract potential attendees.
  • Virtual event platforms. If your event is virtual or hybrid, a virtual event platform will streamline the attendee experience. These tools allow you to livestream your event, create breakout rooms for mini discussion groups, add virtual exhibits, and more so attendees don’t feel that they’re missing out on an in-person experience.

If you’re unsure which tech tools to purchase for your event, consider booking an appointment with a fundraising event consultant. These experienced professionals will help you decide which solutions will work best for your nonprofit and your event’s unique needs.

4. Learn from past fundraising events.

According to MemberClicks, you need to gather and assess attendee feedback to create even better fundraising events in the future. The best way to do this is with a post-event survey sent through email to all event attendees. Through these, you’ll glean critical insights from your attendees and can steward your supporters toward increased involvement.

Your survey might include the following questions:

  • On a scale of 1-5, please rate your experience at our event.
  • What did you most enjoy about our event?
  • What did you least enjoy about our event?
  • How did you hear about our event?
  • What improvements can we make to improve our future events?
  • On a scale of 1-5, please rate how likely you’d be to attend our future events.

You may also include event-specific questions. For example, if your event is hybrid or virtual, you can ask attendees how easy your virtual event was to attend and if they feel that they would have enjoyed an in-person event better. Allow your event attendees to type their responses to key questions, instead of merely using a multiple-choice format.

Once the survey results are in, carefully assess them for common complaints or popular suggestions. Address these in your next event to provide a more positive event experience and spark continued engagement. Plus, this will show supporters that you value their opinions and are genuinely interested in hosting great events for them.

Organizing and hosting a stellar fundraising event is no easy feat, especially when you consider that it needs to be unique and memorable. However, it’s not beyond your nonprofit’s reach to achieve this goal. With our tips, you’ll be well on your way to planning a fundraising event that inspires generosity in all your attendees.

Your membership-based organization likely leverages tools like email and social media to market your initiatives and promote your mission. While effective, these marketing strategies are standard and your supporters probably expect them.

Diversifying your marketing strategies can help you reach new audiences, track helpful metrics, and engage your current membership community. Consider elevating your marketing approach past traditional strategies like membership mailers with these savvy strategies:

Before we dive into these tactics, let’s review what sets membership marketing apart from other types of campaigns. Consider your membership-based organization’s current marketing strategies and if any of these would particularly resonate with your target audience.

Membership Marketing Nuances

As a membership-based organization, you have many unique assets that can enhance your marketing efforts compared to other types of nonprofits, including your:

  • Existing membership networks. Your loyal members are committed to the organization and provide access to a valuable network of potential marketers on your behalf. With the right training and materials, you can equip them to become examples of social proof for your membership program.
  • Value proposition. From the enormous networking potential your organization offers to the specialized educational enrichment resources, you have plenty of appealing membership benefits to share in your marketing messages.
  • Core message of belonging. Your membership program is more than a ticket to conferences and industry events — it’s a tight-knit community that can lead to friendships outside of the workplace as well. Offering a built-in community aspect to your potential members offers them a place where they can make friends for life.

Ultimately, the most valuable asset your organization should leverage is your distinct achievements and values. For instance, if your union wanted to attract new members, you could demonstrate your impressive community track record using a member-facing tech-stack to highlight how your member dues fuel your mission.

3 Marketing Moves for Membership-Based Organizations


1. Google Ad Grants

As the host of billions of searches each day, Google’s results page is a valuable marketing channel for your membership program. However, it can be challenging to occupy the most visible spots at the top of the results page without paying for expensive ad promotion.

However, for nonprofits with a recognized charitable status, you can apply for the Google Ad Grant, which gives you $10,000 worth of free advertising space at the top of the search engine results page.

Plus, it’s easy for qualified nonprofits to apply. First, check Google’s eligibility requirements to ensure that your organization qualifies.

Getting Attention’s guide to Google Ad Grants
’ flowchart explains the next steps to take:

A flowchart that explains the Google Ad Grant application process (as explained below).

  • Do you have a Google for Nonprofits account? If not, sign up for the program.
  • Next, ensure that Google Analytics is installed on your website.

After this process, you can start planning and executing your Google Ad Grants campaigns. If you need help making the most of your grant, consider working with a Google Ad Grants agency to research, launch, and monitor winning campaigns.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Even without the Google Ad Grant, you can boost traffic to your membership organization’s website for free by aligning your website with Google’s algorithmic preferences. These practices, also known as SEO, are easy to implement if you use a configurable content management system (CMS) to manage your website content. Here are some easy SEO fixes to start with:

  • Identify relevant keywords. Keywords are terms that users type into the search bar to answer their query. Integrate relevant keywords into your website content so interested audiences can find your organization easily. For instance, a nurse’s union might use keywords like “nurses union,” “union for nurses,” or location-based phrases to attract local audiences.
  • Conduct a user experience and accessibility audit. User experience gauges how easy your website is for visitors to access and navigate. Audit your website to ensure your navigation, content layout, and links all function correctly. Also, make sure your site’s elements are accessible to everyone by adding alt text to images, adjusting color contrast, and screen reader compatibility.
  • Create quality content. If your organization has a blog, you can leverage it as an SEO tool. Search engines prioritize human-first content, and you can satisfy this requirement by writing high-quality, keyword-optimized, educational blog content. Plus, blog posts give you something to link out to in your social media posts.

As you scale your SEO efforts over time, track important performance metrics like bounce rate and site traffic to gauge your performance. Also, monitor your main keywords to see if your membership landing pages move up the results page ranks.

3. Member Referral Programs

As previously mentioned, one of your organization’s greatest assets is your existing member community. You can leverage your community’s connections to market your membership offerings by running member referral programs. Here’s how to launch a program: work:

  • Define the program’s guidelines. In this stage, decide what your organization’s referral program will look like. You should determine elements like how members will track referrals, which incentives you’ll offer, and how you’ll gauge success.
  • Market the program. Spread the word to your membership community by sending emails, hosting information sessions, and mentioning it in membership meetings. Wait a few weeks for word to spread and questions to be answered before officially starting the program.
  • Train your members. Once you’ve collected contact information from interested participants, host training sessions with advice and resources so your members can become experts in your organization’s offerings. For instance, a union member referral program’s training sessions might include training on how to use union membership management tools.
  • Track referrals. Provide a digital space where members can track their successful referrals so no information slips through the cracks. Also, add a question to your membership onboarding survey that asks if they got a referral from a current member, and if so, what their name is.
  • Disperse rewards. Regularly check your tracking mechanism to disperse rewards promptly once your members qualify. For instance, one of your rewards might be a free month of membership dues for five new members signed up.

Evaluate the program’s performance by calculating how many new members were recruited through the program over time. Also, show your appreciation to participating members and collect their feedback so they’re encouraged to continue recruiting.

As you get comfortable managing your new marketing programs, consider how you can implement multichannel strategies to make your marketing messages visible, appealing, and member-centric.

Ultimately, as long as you put your membership organization’s value proposition at the center of your marketing efforts, you’ll attract a crowd that cares about your mission and can benefit from your offerings.

Even if your board isn’t a “fundraising board,” board members’ buy-in for and commitment to your capital campaign will be key to your campaign’s success.

When every board member is fully committed and excited about the campaign, their commitment and energy have a way of fueling the entire enterprise. But if a few board members are anxious and hesitant and unsure a campaign is a good idea, their reluctance will likely undermine your campaign’s success.

So, even if you are convinced that a campaign is essential, don’t move willy-nilly into planning a campaign without ensuring that your board is fully on board.

Here are three ways to do that.

1. Involve the board in pre-campaign planning and training.

According to a recent benchmark study, most capital campaigns (62%) grow naturally out of strategic or long-range planning that is conducted by the board. When that happens, the seed for a capital campaign is planted. But when the motivation for a campaign comes from one individual or some immediate circumstance, you’ve got to circle back to make sure that the board is fully engaged in the decision to move forward.

Most board members have little experience with capital campaigns. Some may have played a small role in a larger campaign for their college, for example. But very few have a solid understanding of what a campaign is and what will be expected of them.

Of course, it’s hard to commit to something you don’t fully understand. One important way of engaging your board is to provide them with information about what a capital campaign is, how it works, and what their roles will be. While you can find a great deal of information to share with your board members online, the best way to educate your board about campaigns is through training designed specifically for them.

You can train your board either in person or virtually. If you are planning a board retreat, you might use a portion of the retreat to bring in an expert to conduct capital campaign training. Even one hour of training about capital campaigns can provide enough information and clarity to help your board members understand what they are committing to.

But if you aren’t planning a retreat, a virtual campaign training will work quite nicely. These days, most board members appreciate virtual meetings. A skilled virtual trainer can make savvy use of virtual meeting rooms to make sure that even online training actively involves the board members in the learning process.

2. Have board members play active roles in the campaign.

When people play an active role in a project and get involved, they become more committed. So, getting board members engaged in the campaign is a very effective way of getting them fully committed to the campaign’s success.

Your board members might play many roles in your campaign. The role most board members fear most is asking for campaign gifts. But that is just one of many important roles. Once your board members understand that they can choose ways to get involved that suit their abilities, they will be happy to participate.

Here is a short list of roles board members often play in capital campaigns.

  • Serving on a campaign committee
  • Helping draft or review the case for support
  • Identifying and cultivating potential donors
  • Hosting a cultivation gathering or house party for donors
  • Being part of the solicitation team asking for major gifts
  • Thanking and stewarding donors after they make gifts
  • Supporting the staff in campaign work

Of course, your board members should all be asked to make a personal contribution to the campaign at a level that indicates a serious commitment. The level of giving will be different for every board member, but a board that is fully committed will encourage every board member to give as generously as they are able. Personal giving further increases the level of commitment and buy-in to the campaign.

3. Continually engage board members throughout the campaign.

Once your board members are involved, you will have to keep them involved through the campaign. An important way of doing that is to make campaign reporting a regular part of board meetings. Regular reports should let board members know where the campaign stands in terms of dollars raised, what phase the campaign is in, and what plans are in the campaign pipeline.

As the campaign draws close to and finally reaches its goal, board members who have been involved throughout the campaign will feel a special excitement and pride. While many people will have played important roles in the campaign, the board will bear ultimate responsibility for its success.

Email is a powerful tool for nonprofits of all types and sizes. Whether you’re promoting a fundraising event, trying to boost traffic to your online donation page, or sharing information about your cause, email marketing is a great way to spread your message. There’s a tangible ROI for fundraising via email—
according to Double the Donation
, for every 1,000 fundraising emails sent, nonprofits raised an average of $90.

If you’re not effectively harnessing the power of email marketing or are looking for ways to improve your email campaigns, this post will help you hone your email marketing plan with five fundamentals: audience targeting, subject line optimization, personalization, and storytelling.

Audience Targeting

Segmenting your audience is key to reaching the right people with messaging that resonates and compels them to take action. Segmentation is the process of grouping your audience based on shared characteristics. There are several ways to approach segmentation, but some common segments include basic demographics (age, location, gender), plus individual donors’ giving history, participation in events, volunteer engagement, or favorite outreach campaigns.

While it might sound tricky, segmenting your audience for targeted email marketing is a crucial part of database management. Here are some ways to improve your audience segmentation:

  • Collect donor information. Don’t stress if you don’t have this information readily available. Now’s the time to start and you’ll be better prepared for future campaigns. Survey your audience to collect basic demographics and dive into your database to pull data points that relate to their history with your nonprofit.
  • Leverage digital marketing tools. There are a ton of choices available for nonprofit marketing tools. For instance, you might use an event management tool specific to a fundraising event. Use this to collect pertinent information for integration into your CRM. Nonprofits can often utilize these tools and no or reduced cost.
  • Review previous segments. If you’ve done segmentation in the past, it’s a good idea to periodically review your processes and individual segments to ensure you’re getting the information you need and that it’s accurate. You might also dive into past campaigns for each segment to see what’s worked and where you can improve.
  • Monitor engagement metrics. After you send an email campaign to specific segments, keep an eye on metrics such as open and click-through rates to see how folks are responding. Your email marketing tool might also be able to help you identify promising new segments within your broader audience.
  • Use A/B testing. Try different messaging within your audience segments. For example, split your past gala participants into two groups and use different calls-to-action in each email to see what resonates.

Once you’ve identified your core audience segments, document them in your nonprofit’s overall marketing plan so they can be effectively leveraged down the road in future campaigns.

Subject Line Optimization

How often have marketing emails landed in your inbox, only for you to ignore them because the subject line wasn’t compelling or interesting enough? Engaging subject lines have a major impact on open rates, and subsequently, engagement with your nonprofit. Subject lines are the first opportunity you have to make an impression on the reader, so it’s important to get them right.

Try these strategies to make your subject lines irresistible:

  • Use relevant and appropriate emojis. Sending an email about a dog adoption event? Drop the dog emoji in the subject line. Inviting people to your annual golf fundraiser? Use the golfer emoji. Emojis are fun and engaging and often prompt people to click.
  • Use active language and verbs. You want the reader to act, so your subject line should compel them to do so. Words like help, act, and give are great to include, as well as verbs that relate to your cause, like feed, clothe, protect, and rescue.
  • Create a sense of urgency. Like with active language, your subject line should encourage folks to do something
    right now. Words or phrases that imply a time limitation or that people are missing out on something are good examples, such as donate now, feed 10 kids today, don’t wait, and time is running out.
  • Make it personal. Use merge tags to pull personal information into subject lines to draw readers in, like “[First Name], we need your help” or “A special offer for you, [First Name].
  • Mention impact data. Numbers are attention-grabbing. Drop some data in your subject lines and watch your open rates climb. For example, you could mention the number of constituents you’ve served, data from a survey, or how much you need to reach your fundraising goal.

Above all, subject lines should accurately reflect the purpose of the email and entice them to participate. For example, let’s say you’re adding a new fundraising idea, like a hole-in-one contest, to your annual charity golf tournament. Use the real estate in your subject line to mention the contest’s prize to grab your audience’s attention.


We’ve talked about how segmentation is the driver for you to be able to personalize messaging, but how you use that personalization in the email’s content is also important. Once you have your segments in place, it’s time to incorporate details about those segments into the email copy. Some information you can integrate could include:

  • Previous amount giving to a past or similar campaign
  • The outcomes of their donation
  • How they can grow their impact in a new campaign that’s targeted to their interests

For example, let’s say you’re hosting a charity golf tournament to raise money for your organization’s mission to build homes for underprivileged families. Your audience’s occupation segments might include homebuilders or realtors, so your personalized content could focus on the need for affordable housing in your community.


Everyone loves stories. It’s how nonprofits can authentically connect with donors and supporters. And while it might seem challenging to tell a nonprofit story through a medium such as email, there are many strategies you can employ to make it impactful, such as:

  • Using photos and videos that feature beneficiaries
  • Focusing on a single beneficiary and telling their story in detail
  • Highlighting your nonprofit’s impact and transformation with tangible facts and data
  • Give your email a narrative structure that has a beginning, middle, and end
  • Includes clickable call to action buttons and banners

The most important thing to keep in mind is to let the human aspect of your cause shine in your email. Don’t focus on hitting your fundraising goals in a vacuum—instead, contextualize your fundraising asks with the emotions of your beneficiaries to show that your cause and their donations impact real people.

Suppose you’re collaborating with a business as a sponsor for a specific fundraising event, campaign, or matching donation. GolfStatus suggests including them in promotional materials to maximize exposure to their target audience. You might consider sending a specific email that tells the story of the impact the sponsor has had on your mission or specific beneficiaries.

Wrapping Up

Email is one of the most heavily used digital marketing tools for a reason—it’s effective. These marketing strategies will help give dimension to your cause and solicit emotional responses from your audience—all through a screen.

A regular flow of revenue can help your organization deepen its impact and advance its mission. However, between donor acquisition and retention, your nonprofit has multiple options to bring in more donations for your mission. So, how do you know what to focus on? 

While acquiring new donors is an important part of any fundraising strategy, investing the bulk of your time, energy, and resources into retention can make a huge difference. A strong donor stewardship strategy can help you turn casual supporters into loyal donors, eager to give larger and more frequent gifts over time.

If you’re like most nonprofits, your organization’s retention rate likely sits at around 40%. To grow your retention rate and boost your donors’ connection to your nonprofit, use these tried and true best practices:

With a high donor retention rate, your nonprofit won’t have to stress about constantly finding new donors whenever you launch a new campaign. Let’s dive into how you can experience financial stability and secure a bright future for your mission.

Leverage sustainer tools

To grow your donor retention rate, you need to successfully prompt donors to give again. However, simply communicating a vague “Please donate again!” message is ineffective and likely to be skipped as donors scan their dozens of daily emails or texts. Instead, you need to craft highly personalized solicitations and reach donors at the right time with the right messaging.

Jackson River recommends leveraging a fundraising platform with automated sustainer tools to deliver personalized messages that resonate with donors and inspire action. Let’s take a closer look at the sustainer features you should add to your fundraising toolkit:

  • Sustainer upsells: Convert one-time donors to monthly donors as part of the donation process, increasing their involvement in your mission and earning your organization more revenue over time.
  • Sustainer upgrades: Suggest a predefined upgrade amount for existing sustainers that they can accept with one click.
  • Native integration with a top CRM like Salesforce: Reduce your administrative burden and use donor data insights to automatically power highly relevant donation appeals that prompt increases in giving amount and frequency. A fundraising solution with Salesforce donation processing empowers your nonprofit to spend less time chasing after donors to give and more time to focus on what matters: setting the building blocks for strong relationships.

Individually reaching out to all of your supporters to give can be taxing, inefficient, and, depending on your nonprofit’s size, nearly impossible. The right technology will empower your nonprofit to send tailored solicitations when your donors are most likely to act on them, making it simple to grow your recurring giving program over time.

Create donor stewardship activities

Aly Sterling Philanthropy defines donor stewardship as strategic efforts designed to deepen relationships with supporters over time through systematic outreach. To successfully steward donors to the next giving level, you need a variety of donor engagement tactics that connect supporters emotionally to your mission.

Some donor stewardship activities include offering:

  • A tour of your facilities
  • A one-on-one meeting with leadership
  • An exclusive donor club, with accompanying events
  • An invite to an educational luncheon or dinner
  • A day-in-the-life experience shadowing a staff or volunteer
  • Surveys to voice suggestions for improvements

As you get to know your donors, you can create donor stewardship activities that align with their interests and are likely to excite them. For example, let’s say you’re a marine conservation organization and a first-time donor has expressed interest in your sea turtle rehabilitation program. Invite that donor to watch your next release of rehabilitated turtles back into the wild. This way, they can see how their donation is truly making an impact!

Plan peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns

Peer-to-peer fundraising motivates supporters to take on a more involved role in your mission, empowering them to raise funds for your cause. As a result, they’ll feel more connected to your organization. Once you’ve recruited peer-to-peer fundraisers, equip them with all the tools and best practices they’ll need to hit the ground running.

To smoothly manage your peer-to-peer fundraising and make it simple for supporters to get involved, look for a fundraising platform that offers these key capabilities:

  • Website builder: Easily create a visually appealing and user-friendly campaign page that inspires donations.
  • Personalized peer-to-peer fundraising pages: Allow supporters to generate their individual fundraising pages and add personal touches like pictures and the story behind why they’re supporting your mission.
  • Embedded donation forms: Rather than directing donors to another giving page and potentially losing them in the process, embed a donation form right into your campaign page and your supporters’ fundraising pages.
  • Automated emails: Send off highly engaging emails that motivate your peer-to-peer volunteers and prompt giving among your supporters. Acknowledge important milestones, like hitting the halfway point on their personal goals, to support your recognition efforts.
  • Text engagement: Reach your team of volunteers more directly and create segments so you can send donation requests to all types of donors.
  • Social media integrations: Share your fundraising pages widely on social media to amplify your reach.
  • Digital advocacy tools: Spread petitions, raise awareness of the problem your nonprofit seeks to address, and effectively boost revenue with built-in advocacy features.

A fundraising application with a seamless CRM integration like Salesforce will also enable you to track supporters’ peer-to-peer activity. For instance, if supporters haven’t had any activity on their peer-to-peer campaigns in a month, your nonprofit should be able to send an automated email series to reengage peer-to-peer fundraisers in the action.

Backed by a Salesforce donation application, you’ll be in great shape to inspire deeper relationships, grow your donor networks, and set up a predictable donation pipeline.

Express donor appreciation

Donor appreciation helps supporters feel valued and recognized by your organization. As soon as supporters give, send them an automated thank-you note that explains the impact of their gift. Be sure to include a personalized greeting and offer opportunities for your donors to engage more deeply with your mission, such as volunteering at your next event.

Along with sending a thank-you note, you should practice donor appreciation in a variety of ways to strengthen your supporter relationships. For example, you might:


This chart depicts six ways that you can show appreciation to your donors, repeated below.

  • Create a donor recognition wall
  • Spotlight supporters in your email newsletter
  • Offer branded gifts
  • Shout-out supporters on social media
  • Send customized eCards on birthdays
  • Host a donor appreciation event, such as a luncheon

Donors might like to be thanked in different ways, so consider surveying your supporters to learn their preferences. For instance, some supporters might prefer a public shoutout, while others would rather be thanked in private. A strong donor retention strategy is rooted in consistent and meaningful donor appreciation, so be sure to constantly highlight your gratitude for donors’ support.

Wrapping Up

With a high donor retention rate, your nonprofit will have a reliable pipeline of donors who are eager to champion your cause and push forward your goals year-round. To achieve this, leverage a fundraising solution with powerful tools to automate donation requests, streamline the peer-to-peer fundraising process, and support your overarching strategic plan.