How to find new donors

The Brief
This post comes from the RelSci 5, our weekly newsletter for and about nonprofit leaders. Its curated articles and insights revolve around a different theme each week and will help you do your job better. This week’s theme is Seen & Unseen. Sign up for the RelSci 5 here.  

1. The case for the virtual volunteer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, volunteering rates are the lowest they’ve been in 10 years. Despair not. What statisticians aren’t tracking is a dynamic and potentially game-changing pool of talent: online volunteers. If your org is having trouble snagging in-person help, maybe it’s time to leverage Skype and Google Hangout to engage passionate, if nonlocal, help.

2. Do you see what they see? Have you gotten the kind of traction you’d like on your marketing or donor pages? You need to reassess—the kind of content you’re offering, of course, but its placement as well. Eye-movement-tracking studies aren’t just for menu-makers and newspaper editors. Hubspot’s nifty infographic breaks down exactly where website content should be placed for maximum efficacy. 

 3. You have 15 seconds or less.

  • Long-form content is fine for telling your organization’s story,
  • But do your daily readers have the attention span to read it all the way through?
  • Shorter is better.
  • Use headlines, bullets, and short paragraphs.
  • It will make your information stickier, and your multi-tasking, short-attention-spanned readers will thank you.

4. Needle in the data haystack. When it’s time to fish for new donors, no one has the patience to cast the wide net anymore. RelSci’s Power Search tool helps you find exactly the kind of supporters you need by combing 3.5 million profiles filtered by industry, title and donor history. That leaves you plenty of time to sort leads and create customized lists for your fundraising team. Writing out the thank you cards after that first batch of donations? Well, that’s on you.

 5. Hidden meanings. Firing an employee is always an unpleasant experience. Don’t make it worse for either of you by resorting to cloak-and-dagger euphemisms like these.


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