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Attracting New Donors With Content That Serves (And Scales)

Attracting New Donors With Content That Serves
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“How do we get more donors?” is a question every nonprofit asks at some point. And for good reason. Research shows that individuals are the most important funding source for organizations, accounting for almost 70% of total contributions. But growing and engaging your donor base isn’t an effortless process. Most nonprofits use a combination of in-person events, physical outreach, and some form of digital presence to attract and build relationships with supporters. While these investments may work, organizations quickly realize the time and attention needed is unsustainable and engagement is less than desired.

In order to get off the fundraising hamster wheel, organizations should instead design repeatable marketing campaigns built on content that is valuable to potential donors, delivered through targeted digital campaigns and reinforced with ongoing communications to form lasting relationships.

To get started, let’s first discuss how to approach your marketing efforts, making sure they are donor-centric

Marketing Efforts Should Give First, Ask Second 

Effective marketing is about building relationships not spurring transactions. While getting new donations may be the ultimate goal, your marketing efforts should focus on starting a conversation with potential donors about what you do and why they should care. To start a relationship off on the right foot, remember it is always better to give than receive. When nonprofits shift their focus to serving rather than soliciting their donor base, it becomes easier to attract like-minded supporters and build lasting relationships.

Thankfully, providing something of value to potential donors doesn’t have to be complicated.  

3 Simple Steps to To Attract Donors Through Digital Content

A repeatable digital donor growth campaign rests on three key activities:

  1. Creating a valuable resource for a community that aligns with your mission
  2. Getting the resource into donors’ hands
  3. Converting these new relationships into lasting support

Let’s explore each in more detail with a few examples of how nonprofits can put these into action.

1. Create the “Right” Lead Magnet

A digital resource that attracts new donors needs to have two elements to be authentic and succeed:

  • Donor’s need or want it 
  • Your nonprofit’s unique expertise and experience 

The overlap of these two elements creates a zone for donor multiplication where sympathetic supporters are naturally drawn toward helping your mission.
Area of Opportunity for Donor Multiplication


To assess what your donors desire, you can map out a persona or identity or run a survey on your existing network and ask questions like:

  • What topics would you like to learn more about?
  • What problems are you facing that we can help you solve?
  • What content would you be interested in subscribing to?

Additionally, tools like Google’s Keyword Planner can help confirm that there is demand for a particular topic.

On the other side, your nonprofit’s areas of expertise should be based on your mission statement and core beliefs about how to help your community.

The kind of information you decide to share can also help determine what format (for example, eBook, Quiz, or online course) makes the most sense for your situation.

To bring this to life, consider a few examples of nonprofits using this framework perfectly:

All of these resources serve an audience that is naturally interested in the mission of each organization in order to start a conversation.These resources are evergreen, meaning they can be used over and over again.

2. Get the Content Into Donors’ Hands

Now that you’ve created an intriguing resource worthy of your donors’ attention, it’s time to make sure they see it!

Here is where digital advertising campaigns come into play.

While this can’t address every marketing channel or tactic your nonprofit might use, here are two options that work well for promoting lead magnets:

  1. Google or Bing search ads: This is a good channel for nonprofits to consider especially if they take advantage of Google’s grant program or Microsoft’s Social Impact program to receive free advertising dollars.
  2. Facebook lead ads: Lead ads are another great option because users don’t have to leave the platform to go to your website. This increases conversion and allows Facebook to track data and retarget similar donors.

Of course, if visitors are going to visit your website to download a resource, it helps to have a well-designed landing page. A good landing page conveys the value of your resource and convinces visitors to trade an email address in exchange for the information. Your relationship is starting!

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3. Build Long-term Relationships

At this point in the subscriber-to-donor journey, we’ve started a conversation that we now need to nurture.

Delivering your resource shouldn’t be the end of the interaction, it should only be the beginning. Nonprofits can efficiently build long-term relationships with their community over email with targeted welcome series and ongoing drip campaigns. Email allows you to continue to serve your audience with more content over time and introduce your organization and its purpose more deeply.

As you share stories of change and create a clear vision of what your organization hopes to achieve, subscribers are likely to turn into lasting donors.

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The Power of Digital Content: Scale

Serving rather than soliciting an audience is the better way to grow a sustainable donor base. And creating digital resources is a simple way of accomplishing this goal.

However, digital has one more benefit worth underlining: scale. With digital content, your nonprofit only needs to make a one-time investment. As long as you create resources addressing topics that are relevant year-round, you’ve created an asset that can attract donors for years to come.

In summary, nonprofits can create scalable marketing campaigns using digital content promoted through targeted campaigns and communications to attract new donors and ultimately build lasting relationships.

View the webinar, hosted by Chris Barlow, Unlocking Donor Delight: The Key to Consistently Growing Your Donor Base

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