You likely have a list of loyal, older donors who have supported you for years - especially through one-time, annual donations. Congrats! 🎉

As you steward these donors toward bequest giving, you're aware of the need to attract NEW & YOUNGER donors to keep your mission moving.

How do you acquire new donors?

There are MANY facets of successful acquisition processes & appeals:

  1. List(s) of Contacts

    1. You'll need to have a list of folks to talk to/ask/start with - these are the most common:

      1. Email subscribers

      2. Social media followers

      3. Previous donors

      4. Event attendees

    2. There are also some 3rd party services that allow you to purchase emails and/or mailing addresses.

    3. Lean upon your current donors/volunteers/supporters to "spread the word!" (word-of-mouth is a powerful, effective way to bring new donors into your network)

  2. Contact Targeting

    1. Segment your contact lists as best you can for targeted messaging.

      1. For example - a donor who historically gives $20,000 to charities annually doesn't need to be receiving the same "give a $10 one-time gift" direct mail appeal as the donor who has only given you one $10 gift 2 years ago.

    2. Some CRM's offer free and/or paid analytics/donor segmenting based on income, previous giving history, location & more.

    3. Your mass emailing tool (ex: ConstantContact or MailChimp) often offers built-in segmenting/list options

  3. Attractive Marketing

    1. Especially when marketing in "cluttered" & distracting spaces like emails and social media, you'll want to create a simple, eye-catching design that is easy to read & cuts through the "noise" of all other competing non-profit & marketers.

    2. We recommend using a FREE design tool like Canva - check out these tips!



  4. A Call to Action

    1. Quality & impact

      1. What do you need donations for? Is it mission-critical? Time-sensitive?

      2. Check out these best practices for creating campaigns

      3. How will a donor's gift make a difference? Share an impact amount!

    2. Entry-Level

      1. Asking donors for a low $ gift increases the chances of your donor giving.

        1. Have you ever been to a grocery store and they asked if you wanted to "round-up" your spare change to donate to a cause? You likely said YES because it was such a simple & low barrier amount.

        2. Your Harness Round-Up link is a perfect call-to-action to activate new, younger, inactive/lapsed, small-budget donors.

    3. Easy Giving

      1. Make it as easy as possible for your donors to give

        1. Few "clicks" to give

        2. Multiple methods of giving

          1. Website

          2. Email

          3. Facebook post

          4. Text-to-give keyword



  5. Multiple Communication Streams

    1. Emails & posting on social media are the best & often most effective donor acquisition tools IF these communications are timely, consistent, and share valuable/relevant information to donors (Ex: who you are, what you do, how donors $ makes a difference, etc.).

    2. Other communication streams include:

      1. Direct mail

        1. Can include timed solicitations (ex: quarterly, end-of-year, etc.)

        2. Fun Fact: DM costs $40–$60 per new donor and has the lowest long-term value since the frequency and average gift are both lower.

      2. Other mail

        1. Annual reports

        2. Impact updates

      3. Text messaging

        1. Fun Fact: Text messages traditionally have a 98% open rate!

        2. Learn more about texting with Harness

      4. In-Person

        1. Most common: special events & 3rd party tabling events

        2. Use your Harness text-to-give keyword to make it EASY to give on the spot!

  6. Consistency

    1. We mentioned that email inboxes & social media feeds can be "cluttered" causing your email/post to be overlooked/lost. It's important to share your appeals not only in multiple areas (see above), but multiple times.

    2. Best practice for cadence:

      1. Emails

        1. 1x/week for time-sensitive appeals

        2. 1x/month for "general" info/updates

      2. Social Media

        1. 1-2x/day for time-sensitive appeals

        2. 1-2x/week for "general" info/updates

  7. Reminder Prompts

    1. Reminders

      1. Especially when donors are giving via your website, donors can get distracted/lost in other content on your site - having an automated "prompt" to catch their attention/remind them to make their donation increases the follow-through on your gift.


    2. Peer-driven giving

      1. Our social proof notification subtly lets your donors know "others are giving to this, you should too - don't miss out!"


Check out these resources 👇

Did this answer your question?