Every nonprofit group needs to know where to find new donors to grow their support base and replace lapsed or lost donors. So, where do you look to find potential new donors to send fundraising appeal letters to and hopefully, acquire a new source for future donations?
Fundraising letter expert Alan Sharpe offers these six suggestions for likely places to find new supporters. Here’s the short list of donor sources, followed by an in-depth look at why each of these groups can bring in new donations:
- Family, friends, and colleagues of your current supporters.
- Existing clients
- Your volunteers
- Your staff
- Your organization’s peer groups
- Affinity groups
Where To Look For New Donors for Your Fundraising Letter Appeals
Have you ever studied your best donors and wished you could clone them all? Maybe you can, with a bit of creative thinking.
1. Friends of current supporters – The first place to look is friends, family and colleagues of your current supporters. The odds are good that your most generous and faithful donors have friends or co-workers or family members who will want to support your cause as well.
One of the most popular ways of acquiring new donors like this is through a Friend-Get-a-Friend program. At the best times during the year (which you discover through testing), you invite your current donors to refer a friend to your organization.
This is usually done with a buckslip or liftnote that goes out with your regular fundraising appeal letter. But you can also include a tear-out coupon in your newsletter and a sign-up form on your website.
2. Clients – Another source of new donors is your clients, the people that your organization serves. Naturally, if your clients are homeless or poor, they are not prospects for donor appeal letters.
But if your clients are former hospital patients, or university alumni, or retired folks, then you have a valuable source of potential supporters. These people already know your mission, who you serve and how you help them.
3.Volunteers – Another group of individuals that knows all about your organization is your volunteers. They not only know you, they believe in you. That’s why they give you their time and talents. Now you can ask them to give their treasure as well.
4. Staff – One advantage of asking your staff for donations is that you know two things about them.
You know that they know your case for support. And you know that they have money. So send them an appeal letter. Or better yet, ask them to join your monthly giving program, with their gift coming right out of their pay each payday.
5. Peer groups – One organization I have written fundraising letters for is Doctors Without Borders.
They are a group of volunteer doctors and nurses who deliver emergency medical care in places where no medical infrastructure exists, usually because of war or natural disasters. In one acquisition campaign that I worked on, Doctors Without Borders sent acquisition letters to two peer groups – doctors and pharmacists.
They reasoned that these two groups of medical practitioners would identify closely with the mission of Doctors Without Borders, even if they were not able or inclined to volunteer overseas.
Does your organization have a professional peer group that is a natural source of donors? Send them a well-crafted appeal letter that speaks to them as peers and is signed by a peer, and see what happens.
6. Affinity groups – Is your not-for-profit affiliated with a particular religious group, ethnic group or service organization? Then you have a ready-made source of new supporters, provided that they also meet your other criteria for suitable donors.
If you are an evangelical Christian, for example, as I am, then you can look to fellow evangelicals for donations. If you are Italian-American and you live in Little Italy (in New York City), then you have a large group of folks whom you can approach for funds. If you are a member of Rotary International, your fellow members are a source of new support.
And that’s where you look to find new donors to send your fundraising appeal letters.
Read more excellent advice by master copywriter Alan Sharpe on writing fundraising letters at his web site sharpecopy.com
More Fundraising Letter Tips
How to Write Fundraising Letters That Motivate Donors – Motivating strangers to give their money away is one of the hardest jobs around. It’s difficult to do face to face. And it’s even harder to do by mail.
Successful Fundraising Letters Share Eight Qualities – If you want your next fundraising letter to be successful and effective, there are certain nuances you must master to achieve the right results.
Don’t Start Your Fundraising Letters As A Stranger – One of the things you should never do with your fundraising letters is address them to Dear Friend because it can cost you literally thousands of dollars in lost donations.
Write Fundraising Letters That Donors Can’t Resist – Master copywriter Alan Sharpe offers practical advice to non-profit groups for boosting the results of your appeal letters.
How To Write A Fundraising Letter – Advice and tips on what works and what doesn’t in donation request letters.
How To Write Fundraising Letters – Here are detailed instructions on how to write great fundraising letters, including a sample letter to get you started.
Fundraising Letter Sample Template – This sample fundraising letter template offers examples of a specific method of asking for money, including providing a quick psychological justification for a positive response.
Sample Fundraising Thank You Letter – Here are some tips on how to say thanks to your donors, plus a sample fundraising thank you letter you can copy.
Where To Find Creative Ideas For Your Appeal Letters – Creativity is key for keeping your fundraising letters fresh and bringing in sufficient donations. So, where do you find creative ideas for your appeals? The answer, surprisingly, is right under your nose.
Using Fundraising Letters For Donor Acquisition – You can grow your donor base by using fundraising letters for donor acquisition as well as for seeking donations. Donor acquisition letters should be a key component of any long-term fundraising campaign because it is inevitable that you will lose some of your existing donors over time and you will need to replace them with new donors.