Donor-Centric Fundraising – 6 Best Ways to Get Started [FAQs]

What does your fundraising revolve around? Donor-centric fundraising challenges you to put donors at the center of your fundraising strategy to create better donor relationships – and bring in more donations. In this article, we'll show you some ways to be more donor-centric in your fundraising, along with some tools to help.

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Donor-Centric Fundraising – 6 Best Ways to Get Started [FAQs]

Donor-centric fundraising has dominated the fundraising field for a while, but many organizations have started to debate the usefulness of this way of doing things. Community-centered fundraising is the new kid on the block, focusing on beneficiaries’ needs over donors’ interests.

So, what is donor-centric fundraising, and is it as effective as it should be? We’ll discuss whether donor-centric fundraising is more effective than traditional fundraising and give tips to help you adopt donor-centered fundraising.

What is Donor-Centered or Donor-Centric Fundraising?

Donor-centric fundraising is precisely how it sounds. Donors become the focus of nonprofits’ fundraising efforts because by paying more attention to their needs and interests, donors feel more loyal and are more likely to continue giving.

Donor-centered fundraising requires organizations to create a culture that focuses on more connection and communication with donors.

Is it more effective than traditional fundraising methods?

Traditional fundraising methods relied on nonprofits sharing what they needed and assuming donors would provide. Donor-centered fundraising changes that focus and starts with the donor.

Donor-centered fundraising includes three communication practices:

  • Quick and personal acknowledgments after they donate.
  • Assign every gift to a program or specific mission-based activity.
  • Sending reports with details on how their gift impacted the mission.

Thanks to this communication, donor-centered fundraising has proven more effective.

donor centric fundraising vs traditional fundraising

Source: Cygnus Applied Research (

6 Best Ways to Adopt the Culture of Donor-Centric Fundraising

The data has shown that donor-centered fundraising effectively encourages donors to give long-term and more significantly. These facts make it hard to ignore, and more nonprofits want to find ways to upgrade their fundraising strategy and include more ways to connect with donors. The following ways can help you adapt to this way of fundraising.

1. Thank donors immediately

Donors have come to expect a quick response when they give any amount. Donorbox helps nonprofits meet this expectation with automatic donation receipts for all fundraising campaigns and events. Organizations can create customizable receipt emails with thank-you messages for one-time and recurring donations and at the end of the year for tax purposes.

Nonprofits shouldn’t stop with automatic receipts. The best way to connect with donors is with a personalized thank you. After donors receive a receipt for taxes, they’ll forget all about it unless you reach out and personally thank them for their gift. An acknowledgment allows nonprofits to share how the donors’ gift makes a difference and why more is needed.

2. Show appreciation outside of fundraising

Acknowledgments aren’t the only opportunity to send personal communication. Donor birthdays and anniversaries are excellent chances to connect with donors and show them that you see the person, not just the money they give.

Donorbox lets nonprofits collect donor details in its database. While organizations will have to manage donor birthdays independently, Donorbox stores and notifies you of their first donation, the anniversary date of their first gift, any changes to their recurring plans, and changes to address or phone numbers while donating.

important donor moments and alerts on donorbox

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3. Acknowledge donors publicly

Social media is another way to acknowledge donors.

Corporate sponsors give to nonprofits for their own marketing purposes. Acknowledging them on various social media accounts when they give and when they achieve professional success will help strengthen your relationship and entice them to give more.

Nonprofits can also acknowledge donors and sponsors in quarterly newsletters and during events.

4. Let donors take an active role in fundraising

Donors appreciate being thanked, but that’s not the primary reason they give. Most donors give because they care about the cause.

Traditionally, giving to nonprofits has been the only way donors can support charities and missions they care about. Organizations that find ways for donors to play an active role will see more long-term commitment and contributions by donors.

One of the best ways to do this is with peer-to-peer fundraising. Donorbox Peer-to-Peer lets nonprofits build a campaign and invite supporters from the tool to create their own fundraising pages to share with friends and family online. Donors can share why they care about the organization and feel accomplished when they see donations coming in because of their community.

For example, in the below campaign, Julie Kobak, a supporter, helps Maya’s Hope meet its fundraising goal via peer-to-peer fundraising. With about 45 such supporters, the organization has raised over $910,583 so far on Donorbox.

peer to peer fundraising example

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5. Build unique plans for each donor type

Donors’ needs adapt with time. Following donors’ actions and creating a plan for each donor type allows nonprofits to plan for changes and helps them transform one-time gifts into major and recurring donations.

Moves management plans can help you identify and respond to donors’ actions and needs. Moves management is commonly used for major donors but can also be applied to other donor types, including members, recurring donors, and different demographics. These plans aim to follow and direct new supporters to give more regularly.

6. Use donor-centric language in all communication

A significant part of any moves management plan is communication with the donor. Donors respond best when the nonprofit talks to them in their language. That means you must know what motivates them and what makes them give. There are several ways to communicate that you understand donors’ interests and needs.

The easiest way to do this is by using “you.” Bringing donors into the story automatically connects them to your organization’s programs and beneficiaries. Most nonprofits understand how vital it is to tell beneficiary stories when soliciting donations.

A common way to tell these stories is with a “hero’s tale.” Hero’s tales share the difficulties an individual faces to achieve a goal. Nonprofits that can show how donations impact the hero’s path can find a way to connect donors with the organization’s mission and goals. Donors aren’t the heroes when sharing a hero’s tale but have a significant role as a sage or ‘Yoda-type.’

When sharing these tales and other donor communication, keep it as simple as possible. When building a connection with donors, sharing too much information can get in the way. Choosing the right communication for the platform and donor type is essential. If you’re posting on social media, short and sweet is best. Nonprofits should save longer stories and program details for personal letters and annual reports.

Donorbox – A Powerful All-in-One Solution to Your Donor-Centric Fundraising

Over 80,000 nonprofits worldwide use Donorbox to develop effective donor-centric fundraising plans! Nonprofits can use several of our features to communicate and allow donors to play a more significant role in fulfilling their mission.

1. Donor management

Nonprofits that sign up with Donorbox have access to donor management tools that help them build and strengthen donor relationships. Our Moments tool sends organizations and donors notifications on important dates and when action is needed.

Nonprofits can also easily segment donors based on their demographics and program interests, so it’s easier to send personalized communication that gets a response. Donorbox also lets you pull quick reports based on new donors, donor overview data, and LYBUNT (Last Year But Unfortunately Not This) from the tool, making your job easier than ever.

donor report templates on donorbox

Donorbox Donor Management - Learn More!

Nonprofits that want to take their database to the next level can integrate their Donorbox account with leading CRMs like HubSpot, Blackbaud RE NXT, and Salesforce, and 2000+ more software and platforms (related to marketing, communications, productivity, and more) via Zapier.

2. Peer-to-peer fundraising

Donors want to feel connected to a charity’s cause, and Donorbox Peer-to-Peer gives them that opportunity.

Nonprofits can use Peer-to-Peer to create online fundraising campaigns and toggle a swift on the campaign dashboard to turn it into a peer-to-peer campaign. Then they can invite their ardent supporters to fundraise right from the too. Donorbox also allows you to add a button “I want to fundraise for this” to your campaign page to let anyone choose to fundraise.

Your invitees receive an invitation email to sign up to customize their own peer campaign pages. They can add their own stories and images or videos to customize the pages. Once they’re done, they can start fundraising for you. All donations from all peer campaigns will go to your original campaign account.

Click here to listen to what Revelation Wellness, one of our top Peer-to-Peer users, has to say about its ease of use. And here’s a quick tutorial guide to help you get started right away –

3. Easy and quick giving

Donorbox makes it easy for donors to give to your nonprofit with tools like QuickDonate ™, UltraSwift ™ Pay, suggested amounts, and donor designations.

3.1 QuickDonate ™

Encourage and empower your one-time donors to save their information the first time they donate so that they can login to their account later to repeat that donation. Without having to fill out the donation form again. This convenience with Donorbox QuickDonate ™ will make them want to repeat their donations and help you raise more for your organization.

And for you, it’s very simple and quick to set up – just a quick checkbox while customizing your donation form, as shown below.

enabling quickdonate on donorbox

3.2 UltraSwift ™ Pay

Nonprofits that can make it easier for donors to give in any situation have a greater chance of receiving the gift. Donorbox UltraSwift ™ Pay lets donors use fast digital wallet payment methods like Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal Checkout, and Venmo.

Donors using these payment methods can skip entering their personal information and directly go to complete the donation. No worries – we’ll still get their information from their chosen wallet account. This makes the checkout faster and quicker, thus reducing donor drop-off rates.

Offer Donors a Swift Checkout Experience!

3.3 Custom amounts and designations

Nonprofits can customize their campaign donation forms with custom donation amounts and donation designations.

Custom ask amounts (along with brief impact information) lets donors understand exactly how much donation would help your organization or the beneficiaries. This makes decision-making easy on their part and helps you get more than they otherwise would give.

And donation designations give donors the power to designate their donations to a specific fund. If your organization has a building project going on as well as a need for funds to immediately help the beneficiaries, let donors choose where they’d want to contribute. This strengthens their trust in your organization, while also helping you with fund accounting.

Here’s an example of both included in a Donorbox donation form.

donation form example with donation designation and suggested ask amounts

Final Thoughts

As you can see, donor-centered fundraising is popular with nonprofits for a reason. Donors that feel appreciated and part of the organization’s mission give more often and at significant rates.

If your nonprofit wants to add donor-centric fundraising to your strategy, you can use Donorbox features to solicit funds and strengthen donor relationships. Visit our website to learn more about our range of powerful features.

Sign up to start fundraising like a pro, today!

Want to get more insights into donor management, stewardship, and communications? We have loads of free templates, detailed guides, and more on the Nonprofit Blog. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a handpicked list of the best Donorbox resources in your inbox every month.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. Donor-centrism and nonprofit mission – what should be the first priority in fundraising?

While donors’ interests are crucial, nonprofits must remember their purpose. Donors are more generous and loyal when they feel appreciated, but instead of treating them like investors, it’s best to partner with them. Donors that feel involved in meeting your mission will be more likely to support you long-term.

2. What is the difference between donor-centric fundraising and community-centric fundraising?

Donor-centered fundraising focuses on the donors and provides supporters with personalized experiences, reasons to give, and more decision-making power. Donor-centered fundraising is popular with nonprofits because it’s been proven to build long-term relationships and bring in more funds.

Community-centered fundraising is a new trend that has been taken up by nonprofits that worry too much focus has been put on donors. Community-centered fundraising focuses on the organization’s and community’s needs first.

A primary difference with community-centered fundraising is its interest in working with instead of competing against other nonprofits. The goal is to work together to best fulfill the community’s needs. Donors are still vital but are treated more like partners instead of investors. Time will tell if this trend is as booming as donor-centered fundraising.

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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.

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