Top 10 Strategies to Diversify Your Nonprofit Donor Base
Diversity for nonprofits can mean including various races and income levels to your board or staff or finding different ways to raise funds for your organization. But it doesn’t end there. Nonprofits must also include diversity and other diversifying practices as a primary part of donor management. This ensures that you connect with every type…
Diversity for nonprofits can mean including various races and income levels to your board or staff or finding different ways to raise funds for your organization. But it doesn’t end there. Nonprofits must also include diversity and other diversifying practices as a primary part of donor management. This ensures that you connect with every type and level of donor, create better relationships, and fundraise more strategically.
This article will provide you with 10 strategies to diversify your nonprofit donor base, along with other essential factors to know and consider.
Diversifying your donor base means expanding your reach to different ethnic groups and demographics, targeting as per different giving abilities, and ensuring that your messaging resonates with a wider audience.
If your organization is stuck holding the same annual events and reaching out to the same donor types, you are at a disadvantage. Diversifying your donor base means more than including different races, although that is a significant part.
Nonprofits must diversify the types of donors, their communications, and how they ask people to give.
Why is Diversifying Good Practice for Donor Management and Fundraising?
Diversifying your donor base will impact your organization’s fundraising, reputation, donor relationships, and communication practices.
1. New donors
What can be more important than finding more donors when it comes to fundraising? More the number of donors, the more money you can expect to raise. Even those tending to give in smaller amounts can help make your next crowdfunding campaign a success.
When nonprofits diversify their donor base to research and target different races, age groups, and backgrounds, they automatically come in contact with people who might relate to their cause.
For example, a family that was struck with a rare disease you’ve been researching the cure for. Or someone who feels a strong connection with animals or wants to help the homeless.
Connecting with new people increases the likelihood of converting more people to donors.
2. Major donor prospects
Donors are often more diverse than you’d expect. It may surprise you what different cultures believe about charity. You may have heard of tithing. Many Christians believe they must give 10% of their income to charity. Other religious do the same.
Muslims follow zakat, an obligatory form of giving in which every Muslim must give a percentage of their assets during Ramadan to the poor, needy, and others. Many Muslims take this practice very seriously. Individuals that follow the Jewish faith also give Maasar, meaning ten percent of their income.
These examples only cover religion. There are many other reasons people choose to donate to charity. As a nonprofit, you must never assume the only individuals that can become major donors will fit a specific race or background.
As you include different people in your asks, your organizational reputation will also significantly improve.
3. Various income sources and wider connections
If a majority of your nonprofit’s income comes from one or two annual events, what happens if we have another pandemic? What are you doing to ensure that your revenue comes from a variety of sources?
Nonprofits must target donors with different interests and professional backgrounds to ensure their fundraising can be diversified too. For example, if you’re connecting with a budding influencer, you can actually reach a huge audience through peer-to-peer fundraising.
Anyway, a younger demographic is easier for you to connect with on social media platforms and encourage with simpler incentives like shoutouts. They may not themselves get you huge donations but can connect you with great potential donors in their networks.
This way you can also stumble upon people with specific skill sets and prior experiences, who are more likely to convert into members. Members are the best way to establish a loyal supporter base for a nonprofit. Their skills and experience can be handy for specific volunteering needs.
4. Better donor communication
Diversifying your donor base also dramatically impacts your organization’s donor communication.
As you reach out to different donor types, you’ll need to create moves management plans to find the best ways to reach them. For that, you’d want to segment your donor records to find out possible personal connections, interests, and giving abilities. Donorbox Donor Management helps you achieve that with utmost ease. Just apply some simple filters and export the list to be used by your communications team.
When reaching out to various donor types, you’ll want to personalize your communication. The forms you choose can vary between emails, social media, mail, phone call, or face-to-face meetings. For example, a major donor would prefer a one-on-one meeting before giving a gift to your organization. Other donors can be convinced via emails or social media posts.
Diversifying the donor base forces nonprofits to think about each donor type and the different ways they must adapt their communication plan.
Top 10 Strategies to Help Diversify Your Nonprofit Donor Base
The following 10 strategies can help any size nonprofit diversify its donor base. As you read more, consider how you can adapt each strategy to fit your nonprofit.
1. Be intentional
The first question you must ask yourself when choosing to diversify your organization’s donor base is what does diversify mean to you? Additionally, you should also ask the following questions –
Why are you making these changes?
What groups and donor types do you hope to attract?
Different nonprofits will have different answers to these questions. If your nonprofit hopes to acquire more younger donors, you won’t do the same thing you’d do to attract major donors. This difference in donor acquisition is vital when determining how to add diversification.
2. Choose your tools
Once you have determined precisely what you hope to achieve by diversifying your donor base, you must ensure that the tools you use will effectively help.
The primary tools you’ll need are a donor management system, prospect research tools, and communication tools.
2.1 Donor management tools
There are several donor management software tools nonprofits can choose. As you research each tool, decide which features you need most, and consider your organization’s budget and fundraising plans.
Donorbox Donor Management is free to start. The moment you create a fundraising campaign on Donorbox, you’re enrolled for this feature too. Your donor information will be automatically and securely stored in Donorbox. You can update any details, add communication notes, add offline donations (and donors), and receive triggered notifications on important moments.
Here’s what a donor record looks like on Donorbox. As you can see, you get different tabs to manage their personal information, donations, recurring plans, communications, and more right from the donor record.
Prospect research is collecting information about current and potential donors. The aim is to determine whether they can make a donation to your nonprofit, how much they can, and if at all they have the inclination to do so. Naturally, when it comes to diversifying your donor base, these tools can be extremely useful.
You should check out tools like Wealth Engine, Donor Search, iWave, etc. Nonprofits can sign up for a free demo and choose the plan that suits their needs. Check out our detailed article on prospect research including the 5 best tools to choose from.
2.3 Communication tools
When it comes to communication, nonprofits will need a number of tools. They range from email marketing tools to text-messaging tools to social media management tools, and more.
Tools like Sendinblue, Typeform, Asana, Simply Noted, etc. offer nonprofits the ability to send emails, surveys, and handwritten cards, and manage communications easily.
3. Research and understand different cultures
Before connecting with a new donor type, you must know who you’re working with. This is especially true when reaching out to different races or religions.
Information is vital when determining the best way to communicate with new donors. Understanding the cultures, passions, terminology, and more of each donor and donor type is essential. Your prospect research tools can help you get started, however, you must perform deeper research on each demographic to learn more.
4. Focus on building solid relationships
A significant part of diversifying your donor base is building relationships that last. If you’re like many organizations, you’ve become comfortable reaching out to the same donors every year. Unfortunately, you have also noticed that the same old way of doing things doesn’t work anymore.
You’ve already spent years building relationships with your current donor base. You understand how crucial that step is in donor acquisition. Now, you must do the same with each new donor type.
Add details to your donor records as you hold new outreach events and campaigns and collect information on new donors. Use this information to target donor communication to best fit each donor type. Donorbox Donor Management lets you add communication notes that are easy to track whenever, wherever.
5. Find ways to engage different audiences
Donors don’t want to feel like an ATM. Nonprofits shouldn’t solicit donors and leave it at that if they expect to keep that donor long-term. Instead, organizations must find ways to get donors’ feedback and opinions, keep them updated on campaigns and programs, and engage them in active roles in the organization.
Nonprofits can do this by:
Sending surveys and contacting donors by phone.
Creating a donor engagement plan and hiring staff to nurture donor relationships.
Research which demographics are likely to be more involved and invite them to volunteer in person or online.
Get active on social media and create posts targeting different types of people.
Create fundraising events that resonate with different ethnic groups based on the time of the year, festivities, and special occasions.
Recognize and thank all donors irrespective of their gift amounts or nature of involvement.
Struggling to design a great donor experience can be common in nonprofits. That is why this Donorbox webinar video can be helpful for you –
6. Send the right message to the right people
You may have noticed that your traditional communication and marketing pieces are falling flat with certain donors. As you diversify your donor base, you must adapt your communication to address all donor types.
If you’ve recently decided to reach out to a new religious or ethnic group, are there holidays or celebrations you can use? Does your annual appeal accidentally make them feel unconnected to your nonprofit?
Nonprofits must ask these questions and update their communication and fundraising plans to ensure all communication with different donor types is appropriate and meaningful.
7. Lead by example
Most nonprofits understand the importance of having their board members involved in events and fundraising activities. Nonprofit boards that reach out to donors have a greater chance of soliciting a gift. As you diversify your donor base, you should also want to diversify your board.
Suppose you choose to hold an event to reach a specific race or ethnicity. In that case, attendees may question your sincerity if your board members have no personal experience and little knowledge of that culture.
Nonprofits that lead by example and diversify their board will have a much better chance of connecting with new donors.
8. Create a diverse work and volunteer force
Diversifying your nonprofit’s staff and volunteers also helps build solid connections with new donor types. Including DEI initiatives like recruiting staff from different backgrounds, including community members to participate in activities, and creating events and campaigns targeted to specific races and religions will help you acquire more support from a diverse donor base.
By adding a diverse staff and volunteers into your strategic fundraising plan, you help donors see where your organization puts action to their words. Staff and volunteers will help reach out to new donors and provide essential feedback on current fundraising activities.
9. Go where diverse donors are
You won’t attract new donors by doing what you always do. Do you want younger donors? Younger donors may be more interested in giving with apps like Venmo.
By adding this as an option on your donor form, you may attract a younger donor base and begin to develop relationships with donors on their level. Donorbox UltraSwift™ Pay adds digital wallet options like Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc. to your donation form. In addition, they can also give by bank transfers, credit cards, direct debit, etc.
This feature is automatically enabled for all new Donorbox campaigns and you can also enable it manually for old campaigns. It also makes giving super fast for donors by eliminating the need for them to input personal information. This reduces donor drop-off rates by a huge margin.
You can also visit colleges and high schools and create events that inspire more youthful donor participation.
10. Understand things will change
The final thing you must understand is that things will change. Currently, 57.8 percent of residents in the United States are non-Hispanic White. Ten years ago, that number was 63.7 percent. By 2050, non-Hispanic White residents will be a minority.
If your nonprofit has not begun to address diversity issues, you’re in danger of falling behind and having a much more difficult time connecting with donors in the future.
As you look at diversifying your donor base, you must keep an open mind. Have a clear knowledge of how your organization can benefit from adding diversity and where you need it most.
Diversifying your nonprofit’s donor base gives you a greater chance of surviving unforeseen financial disasters and building better communication and fundraising plans that apply to various donor types. As you look at ways to diversify your donor base, you’ll need to look for new tools and resources to help you along the way. Even better if you can manage your donors and their donations right on your fundraising tool.
Donorbox is equipped with some great donor management features to get you started right away. Your donor data and their donations are securely stored. Moreover, you can add offline donors and donations on the tool. You get to record communication notes and get moment notifications whenever someone has donated for the first time, on their first donation anniversary, or in case there is a change in their donation plans. Plus, the integrations with CRM tools keep you at the top of your game all the time!
Learn about Donorbox’s other features that help you raise more money following new-age fundraising trends. Our features are not only affordable but also simple to use. Sign up for free and get started in about 15 minutes from now!
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Kristine Ensor is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience working with local and international nonprofits. As a nonprofit professional she has specialized in fundraising, marketing, event planning, volunteer management, and board development.