Prospects are the lifeblood of your non-profits fundraising program. Without a steady stream of new donor prospects, your non-profit will not be able to raise the money it needs to thrive. Yet, when it comes to prospecting, many organizations try far too many strategies, never able to focus on the few that will succeed in bringing in new donors.
In my experience, the best approach for most non-profits is to build a prospecting system that relies on three to five tried-and-true strategies for engaging new donors for the organization. Here are the four best ways for your non-profit to find new prospects.
#1: Ask for referrals
One of the best ways to find new prospects for your non-profit is to ask your current donors, volunteers, supporters and board members for referrals. Many of your donors and supporters would be glad to serve as ambassadors for your non-profit, introducing your team to their own friends, family, colleagues and neighbors.
The best way to ask your donors and supporters for referrals is to be direct. Sit down with your donors (or call them on the phone), and ask them, Who else do you know who might be interested in our work? Id love to meet them!
#2: Hold a non-ask event
As the name suggests, non-ask events are events where you dont do any fundraising there is no cost to attend, and your team doesnt make an ask at the event. Sometimes called cultivation events or point-of-entry events, these events are a great opportunity to meet new prospects and introduce them to your mission and your team.
The best non-ask events last 60-90 minutes, and feature short talks from your team, a tour of your facilities (if appropriate), and a chance for your prospects to get to know your development and executive staff,
#3: Turn social media followers into donors
Your social media followers can be a great source of new prospects for your annual giving efforts if you approach them the right way.
The best way to turn your social media supporters into donors is to get them to sign up for your e-mail newsletter list. Asking social media followers for donations is a low-yield proposition, unlike e-mail fundraising appeals, which have a much higher rate of success.
Your best bet is to spend lots of time on your social media networks linking back to your non-profits website. On your site, you should be prominently asking visitors to sign-up for your organizations e-mail newsletter list. Your e-mail list can then be used for e-mail fundraising appeal letters, which will turn your social media followers into annual donors to your organization.
#4: Hold a thought leadership event
People love to donate to non-profits that are the best at what they do. One of the best ways to find new donors and to prove that you are among the best in your mission area is to hold regular thought leadership events.
Thought leadership events are round tables, conferences and presentations by well-known experts in your field that appeal to people who are interested in your work. As you host (and market) thought leadership events, you will attract new prospective donors to attend the events and sign up for your newsletter list. These attendees are interested in your work and will become prospects for your fundraising appeals, provided that they receive proper cultivation from your team.