3 Steps to Finding Long-Term Donors

Written By Sam Minneti
Read time:
7 minutes
If you only have 30 seconds:

There are hundreds of nonprofits in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region. In fact, we’re one of the most densely populated nonprofit hubs in the country: Colorado is home to one nonprofit for every 245 people. With so many worthy nonprofits to choose from, how can you help the right donors—people who already believe what you believe—find your organization?

STEP 1:

Don't try to be all things to all donors.

You’re not Geico.

Geico’s audience is truly anyone who has or needs insurance. That could be car insurance, home insurance, log cabin insurance – the list goes on. That means their marketing efforts have to be wide-reaching and broad. On any given day, you can spot Geico in tv spots, social posts, magazines, bus benches and Pandora. Their audience is practically infinite and so is their marketing budget.

As a nonprofit, your marketing budget may not be able to compete with Geico’s $1 billion per year spend. But do you know what you do have? 

A mission that matters.

And while Geico has the expensive task of reaching everyone who needs insurance, you’re able to dial in on a targeted, engaged audience. The key is to focus your efforts on donors who already believe what you believe. 

For example: as a nonprofit that supports safe and accessible bike trails for cyclists, you may not be able to convert donors who have already dedicated their financial gifts to animal shelters or hunger initiatives. Instead of converting donors—engage fans.

Meet cyclists where they’re at. Partner with cycling-friendly breweries, host events at local bicycle repair shops, facilitate group rides and engage this perfectly-primed audience on a topic they’re already passionate about. Because of your shared belief in the value of getting outside on a bike—they’re far more likely to become life-long donors and brand advocates. 

For the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region’s Better Together Campaign, we wanted to tap into the “animal lover tribe.” Each concept speaks to the special bond between a pet and their human.

NAMI Colorado Springs partnered with the Big Dog Brag Mud Run to promote NAMI’s youth support programs. The campaign’s audience was specific: mud-run enthusiasts who believe in the importance of mental health.

STEP 2:

Identify your tribe.

If you’ve accepted that you won’t be all things to all people, you’ve still got to be something to someone, right? 

With limited marketing dollars, it’s important to use them efficiently and focus on people who already believe what you believe. Effective marketing is simply: saying the right thing, to the right person, at the right time, in the right way. 

Your job: find the right people. There are people in your community who are already excited about your mission and eager to help, even if you haven’t identified them yet. 

You likely know the demographics of your ideal donors:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Marital status
But going a step further and identifying your ideal donor’s psychographics will help you understand the mindset and motivations of your donor. To capture their psychographics, create a donor profile—being as specific as possible. 

Answer questions like:
  • If they already have a philanthropic spirit, what other nonprofits do they give to? And why?
  • Where do they grocery shop? Do they prefer chain stores or local markets? How important are local or organic products to them?
  • What brands do they purchase over and over again? And why?
  • How involved are they in your community?
  • Why would they be passionate about your mission?

Effective marketing is saying the right thing, to the right person, in the right way.

STEP 3:

Show donors their impact.

You already know how much you need to raise at your next event and which donors give the most. Most donors don’t need to analyze your financials or comb through your annual report, but they do want to understand how their gift helps. With so many worthy nonprofits to give to, it’s up to you to show donors how their gift can have the greatest impact.

While working with Care and Share Food Bank to redesign their website, we wanted to highlight their impactful, tangible giving levels—proving that even a little bit can go a long way. And with Generation Z accounting for 40% of U.S. consumers in 2020, showing the impact of small donations makes a big difference. 

Just like any relationship, nurturing long-term donors takes time and authentic connections. Fortunately, we know the nonprofits in our community have genuine, compelling stories to share and missions worthy of our support. If the health of a community is predicated on the impact of our nonprofits, then Colorado Springs is truly thriving. 

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3 Steps to Finding Long-Term Donors

Read time: 7 minutes If you only have 30 seconds: You can’t be all things to all donors—and that’s a good thing! Focus on finding donors who already believe
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