How to grow your supporter base between fundraisers

The success of your fundraising journey hinges on attracting and sustaining new donors. It’s our goal to help you cultivate healthy relationships with your donors beyond their first donation to your organization.

In this article, we’ll provide you with the guidance you’ll need to be successful.

Relate to your supporters in personal and meaningful ways.

Research can help your organization prepare new communication strategies while planning to launch your next fundraiser. A personalized approach will help to build trust with your donor and further their loyalty to your organization’s brand. Think about how your organization interacts with major donors and start planning for ways to manage all donors in that same manner. 

Researching how your supporters view your organization is important in planning this phase of your donor stewardship strategy. If you have scheduled connections, like a distribution or a walk/run event, consider asking volunteers to participate in a survey so you can learn more about why they are participating. In most cases, your volunteers are closest to your mission and their opinions can be truly valuable in attracting new donors.

Prepare a diverse variety of opportunities for supporters to engage.

Preparing different points for your supporters to engage with is vital in attracting new supporters and stewarding new donors. Receiving a new donation, from a first-time donor, should trigger an engagement path that’s customized to that donor’s experience. 

Since they’re new to your organization, they’re probably unaware of the volunteering opportunities that are available regularly, the groups that are present within your organization that they may be interested in joining, or the yearly matching program that your organization may offer. Consider how you can educate this new donor and how they can become even more involved with your organization. 

While it’s not feasible to call every new donor, you’d be surprised how many first-time donors will turn into volunteers and repeat donors if they receive that level of engagement. If a phone call isn’t in your bandwidth, consider how your organization can work with new donors in a diverse and personalized way, and how you can target new donors before your next fundraiser. 

Make data-driven decisions that lead to constructive communication.

Donor data can help you understand where, when, and how your donors prefer to engage with your organization. Learning from past donors will help you to make informed decisions when trying to attract and steward new donors. 

Data can also help you to identify new donors, large gifts, and repeat donations. Isolating new donors allows you to add them to your contacts list and keep them updated about your mission. New donors are also unaware of messages that you may have sent in the past. If a marketing campaign was truly effective in the past, you’ll want to consider sharing that same messaging with this new group of donors. 

Donor data also allows you to engage with donors that are over a certain dollar amount or threshold. Large donors, and repeat donors, are often your most loyal supporters. Consider reaching out to these groups to research what they find to be valuable and use that information to design new messaging strategies while planning for your next fundraising event. 

Optimize your donor acknowledgment strategy.

Donors need to know exactly how important their contributions are to your organization’s mission. At the root of all donor stewardship programs is a highly effective acknowledgement strategy. While a very timely thank you message is definitely the first piece of the puzzle, you’ll want to ensure that your long-term donors continue to feel appreciated, and you’ll want to think of each piece of messaging every donor sees along the way. 

Great donor stewardship programs use personalized messaging and a tiered approach to what responses donors receive over the course of their donor lifecycle. While a small one-time donor may receive a branded thank you gift, and a large one-time donor may receive a spotlight in the monthly newsletter, it’s about making both of these donors feel equitable in the impact they’re creating for your organization. Consider thinking about the messaging that each donor receives and how you can tailor it using all the donor information available at your fingertips before launching your next GoFundMe fundraiser. 


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