- Know where to begin your donor search. It is more cost-effective to strategize who will be most likely to make a donation and target those potential donors rather than spend the time and effort to cast your net as far and wide as possible. Start with the board of directors and their contacts, since they already share a passion and drive for the pursuit of the mission.
Know Why People Donate
- Maybe it’s because they share in your commitment to the non-profit’s vision. Maybe they want a tax write off if you have qualified as a 501(c)(3). Maybe they want the PR benefit of being able to call themselves a donor to your organization. No matter what the reason may be, it is important you are paying careful attention to why your donors choose to donate. It’s a great way to effectively target them for future donations.
- Putting prospective donor information into some sort of system will be incredibly helpful in streamlining your efforts to secure donations. This way you can have an effective system for knowing how much, when, and why a donor chose to help your organization.
- If you plan on having a membership option for your donors, make sure you have a system in place that tracks their membership details.
How to Ask for a Donation
- For in-person and phone requests, it is critical that you train your staff and volunteers on how to ask for a donation. You can identify who are your strongest donation solicitors. Make sure they are prepared to handle rejection and can interact with a potential donor in a conversation. Ask for a donation in a specific amount (or suggest several specific amounts) rather than just asking for any donation – it’s better to propose amounts as options rather than “yes” or “no” as options.
- For e-mail and paper requests, bear in mind that these two forms of contact are usually numerous and easy to disregard amongst the rest of the “junk mail”. E-mails are inexpensive, but if not done carefully, can alienate your prospective donor. Make sure to include your organization in the subject line, include a link to your organization’s web page, and encourage the potential donor to forward the e-mail along. You should also provide options to unsubscribe as well as hide the e-mail address from the rest of the recipients on the list. You can save on postage if you obtain a non-profit discount on bulk mail. Your mailing should include a letter asking for a specific donation, a brochure about the organization and a response card for the donor to return.