“Donor Prospecting” is the same as “sales prospecting” in marketing 101. Lead generation is described as one-way communication, while donor prospecting is a two-way communication. Where do your begin if your organization is new? What if you have no budget for generating donors? We have all heard stories about someone who created a “GoFundMe” page and then received over $3,000 to send a child to a special camp. If your organization is to become sustainable, you need to create an on-going donor prospecting process,
So before you start prospecting, your board members must commit to lead generation, donor conversion and donor retention strategies (link to other blog posts) including the “thank you,” data analytics, gift acceptance policies, regular communication, and personal follow up.
Before you begin to engage the universe about your organization, you must create a brand image, a logo, or short tagline that reflects how your nonprofit changes the world. Your mission may be to teach potential medical students empathy, but how does the organization improve the world? State that change in a few words to your child so he or she can understand. Now think about four or five personas that would most likely support the change. Create a visual board reflecting each persona and what will attract them to your brand. Create a list of keywords, hashtags, content topics that would connect these personas to your brand. Use this information when you create your written and text messages.
Engagement starts with your board members. The point of board term limits is to engage more people more deeply in the organization’s mission. Board members are the first source of new leads, but if you have recruited family members and close friends on the board, the mission reach is limited. The diversity of the board is critical for engaging broad groups of people. Regularly devote time in board meetings to discuss reaching the “personas” most likely to support the organization.
Volunteer engagement and client engagement are critical to successful donor prospecting. Do not take for granted their commitment to the mission; instead, demonstrate the need for support of the organization frequently in all communications.
Facebook has added many new features to help market your organization to potential donors, so commit to keeping the page engaging utilizing the new tools. Measure and improve on the engagement. When you begin to develop a strong following on one social media platform, then expand to others, always measuring engagement and improving on your messaging.
Donor-centric events can also generate new leads and strengthen relationships with volunteers. Design special events to capture contact information. “Peer2Peer” campaigns can generate teams of passionate people. Most of the successful prospecting events are free to attend. The organization can offer value propositions at the event, but the gold is in follow up from the event.
Asking for Referrals
When you begin to engage potential donors personally, do not talk about a gift at your first meeting. Ask for feedback from the potential donors; your engagement will be more productive . You should ask for
• “why” they participated in an event, liked your page or read an e-newsletter
• confirmation and affirmation of their understanding of the mission
• future engagement either through a tour of your facility, participation in next year's race, sponsorship, volunteer assignment or referral to someone who might be interested in your cause. Set up meetings with prospect you may know from the local bank, credit union or chamber of commerce.
Make sure your website also asks, by
Modify and repeat
Measuring your progress is as important as doing this work. Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics and your Network for Good Dashboard will help you assess whether you are sending the right message to the right personas through the right media at the right time. They will help you fine-tune your prospecting efforts. You need to try a few approaches and measure the outcomes. Once you understand more about the people who are called to support your mission, you can focus in target marketing and creating a loyal donor.