Each donor has a shared interest in your mission – or you would assume they share an interest if they send you hard-earned money – however otherwise, your donor base can be a varied selection of the general population. Birth dates range through the decades. Income levels rise from modest to enviable.  Overall wealth is expansive or conserved. And political thinking reaches across both sides of the aisle.

Finding the variances and focusing on the most common characteristics is crucial for fundraisers to understand their donor base and shift strategies and communications accordingly.

  • Mostly older donors? Maybe focus more on direct mail and use larger font sizes.
  • High occurrence of younger families? Include references to mission services with children.

By tailoring your contact strategy to follow your donor profiles, engagement opportunities resonate, donors pay more attention, and fundraising results increase.

Two Donor Insights You Shouldn’t Ignore

While age and income seem to be the reigning demographic selects, fundraisers should not ignore a significant piece of donor preference tracking – political affiliations. Reviewing political history can lend tremendous insight into the propensity, capacity, and affinity of a particular donor.  These insights help generate more appropriate contact strategies and discussion points when a fundraiser meets with a prospect face to face, or when sending out direct response communications on a mass scale.

Finally, probably the best insight into your donor or prospect pool is to see what other organizations they may support. If someone is a major donor to an arts school, they could be a great prospect for a music organization. If someone has supported wetland conservations, maybe consider them for a recycling program? While some donors may support up to 19 charities over their lifetime, we have seen that the average donor supports just three charities over the last two years. And not surprisingly, those charities usually are centered around similar focuses or mission types.

So as a fundraiser, you have to investigate and ask – what are my donor profiles? How can I use these to help grow our donor base from prospects with similar interests?

How to Get Started

Not sure where to start or just getting started with fundraising? Try online tools to see what types of donors are in your community. One example is NOZAdonors.com which allows you to create donor lists based on a variety of geographic, demographic, and philanthropic selects then output a list of the donors to be used in fundraising campaigns.

Look around at your next event and start thinking about your donor profiles. How can you use these to find new donors and grow your mission?

Effective Prospecting Tips:

  • Review Current Donor Profiles
  • List Key Demographics – age, gender, location, family, etc.
  • Talk Politics – liberal? Conservative? Other?
  • Find Affiliations – what else do they support?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Wilburn is currently a marketing manager for Target Analytics. In his prior career he managed direct response programs for a variety of nonprofits, resulting in countless donors and dollars going to fund some incredible missions.

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