The ‘secret’ of success in new donor acquisition

28th October 2017

Do you know what is the single most important factor that determines new donor acquisition success?

Is it the content, the look and the feel of the new donor acquisition package, you might ask? Or, the fundraising proposition, the right ‘ask’ variables, the story, the use of the package across different media channels and so on.

My answer to all the above questions is: No.

So, let me let you into a secret: the single most important factor in determining the success of new donor acquisition activities is the quality of the prospects you are approaching.

In my experience, an average new donor acquisition letter or email sent to a great group of prospects can generate a very good response. However, an amazing new donor acquisition piece mailed, emailed or shared with the wrong kind of people is likely to generate little response.

Here are a few things you should think about before you plan your exhibitions or church tours next year. Or, before you decide on what websites you should advertise or what publications you should target for placing inserts.

Evaluate your new donor acquisitions activities in the last few years. Which activities, events, mailings where more profitable in getting new donors? – Keep investing in the activities and events that bring most of the new donors.

New names are not necessarily new donors! Getting new names every month, quarter or year is great but you have to be intentional in turning those new names into new donors. And, you have to do this within a few weeks of these names being added to the database.

What steps, processes, packages do you have in place to turn new names into new donors? – If you need some help in this area please get in touch.

Research new donors to understand what really drove them to give. Call some of them on the phone to ask what motivated them. What do they like about your cause and about the message / story that motivated them to give?

Send a questionnaire asking them what media they engage with, what church they go to. Ask them about their values, interests, and what networks they are part of so you can find similar people to them.

When you have sufficient insights you can collate this information to create personas that you can use to evaluate new opportunities to promote your cause to new audiences via mailings, inserts, email promotions, web and much more.

Evaluate any opportunities to acquire new donors via print, events or online activities using these three very important benchmarks:

The prospects have the capacity to make a gift now;

They have an interest in your cause or the community you help;

Are likely to give again and again.

Once you know and understand the prospects you are aiming to engage with then you can create a new donor acquisition package or campaign that speaks to their needs, concerns and desires to make a difference in the world.

Find out how we can help your Christian charity acquire new donors effectively