How to Sell Your Cause to High-Profile Donors

by Danielle Bloom

3 min read

To maximize their impact, nonprofit organizations require the donations of individuals and foundations to fund projects and services within the community. These donations are usually procured through fundraising efforts and by reaching out to potential donors. There are several ways to identify, and develop relationships with, these high-profile donors.

Identifying Donors

When identifying and developing donors, remember the majority of the organization’s income stems from large, one-time donations. It’s important to determine the identity of high-profile donors and spend time and energy gaining interest from these individuals or foundations. The ‘ABC’ approach works well when figuring out where to concentrate your efforts. Consider the ‘Ability’ of the individual or organization to make the sizable donation you need. Then consider the potential ‘Belief’ of the person to support your cause. Finally, ‘Connection’ means the person is connected somehow to your cause. Having some type of connection to your group is the most critical part of the ‘ABC’ method. Optimally, high-profile donors should be connected to a team leader or a mutual friend. You can also choose someone who outwardly shares a commitment to your cause.

Ramp Up Your Website

About 85% of all major donors check out the website of the organization to which they plan to donate. For this reason, it’s a good idea to develop an online presence and use online fundraising. Start by creating an ‘About Us’ page. Donors like to give money to people, not just faceless organizations. Include pictures of those in charge along with a short two- or three-sentence snippet describing the passions of those leaders. Display your vision, mission and values statements in a prominent location. These should clearly define what your nonprofit is about and what you plan to do in the future. Use your homepage to feature stories about how your organization has impacted the community. You can also create a video for the donation page and highlight future plans. Use mixed media to make your content more engaging. Link your organizations’ T3010 information to your website. By offering these tax reports for donors to view, you help build trust by demonstrating transparency within the organization. You should also offer multiple ways for a donor to give money. Most donors prefer to write a check, but you should offer credit card options or cash donations on-site to make it easier for someone to contribute.

Increase Your Social Media Presence

Use social media to attract donors to your nonprofit. Your website and email may be one of the fastest methods to reach potential sponsors, but through Facebook and Twitter you can get people to interact by sharing your message, liking your posts and commenting on your cause. Through Facebook, you can also get free or paid advertisements to get your message out quickly. A simple search on social media can help you identify people interested in your cause.

Sponsor Events

Invite potential donors to annual events, galas or dinners to connect with your organization. This gives you an opportunity to mix and mingle with several large donors at once and helps these individuals get a glimpse of the atmosphere of your organization. Remember to market the event heavily through newspapers, word-of-mouth and social media. You can also send out personal invites and make phone calls. Ideas include holding a charity auction or asking local restaurants to donate food and sell plates. Host a night at a local museum, or even host a gala ball or black-tie event. By touching base with potential donors and instilling confidence in them about what your company does and can do, you help secure funding for your cause.

References & Resources

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