June 10, 2022  |   6 min read          


Improving Your Donor Community

Welcome back to the Friday Five! This week is all about cultivating and sustaining donors. 

Have you ever wondered how to better understand your donors? Well, you’re in luck because today we’re discussing how to do just that with key data. By improving and better maintaining connections, your community will be stronger. This sense of community strength often results in more donations, too. But how do you create this community? We’ve go 5 ideas for you: 

1. Track Donation History and Trends

A great place to start is to see who is actually giving, and how much. Donations / Donor reports will give you a good idea of trends, and perhaps key donors to engage. But go a little deeper than just your major donors. Data like this can also be sorted into similar giving groups. Break your donors into categories based on donation values, dates, etc. to highlight similarities for more targeted fundraising. 

You can even go one step further and try to figure out what makes a donor give. It could be any combination of belief in mission, family or friend involvement, political giving, active volunteering, or some other degree of connection. Everyone likes to talk about themselves, so this can be a starting point for engaging with your donors. 

2. Understand How Your Community Wants to Engage

Do your donors want more in person events? Do they want more communication? Less? How do they like to be contacted? 

The best way to find the answers to these questions is to just ask. Rather than including a survey buried in the monthly newsletter, send out a separate survey / questionnaire focusing on your donors and what they would like more of. In our digital age, another text or email can feel a bit distant – and easy to ignore – so build space for more in depth conversation. And don’t be afraid to pick up the phone.  

Events are another great way to increase communication and make your organization feel like a community. When hosting, be a social butterfly and spend time talking with current and prospective donors. You’ll be amazed at how much insight you can gain.

Then remember to track all the details because keeping this valuable data for future use is the key. We recommend an all in one tool like DonorNinja to keep everything organized and accessible. 

3. It's the Little Things

Always pay attention to your donors. They’re your lifeblood, so make sure they know they matter. If you’re hosting an event, pay attention to likes, dislikes, tastes, etc. Try to find out why people volunteer and if family members are indirectly involved in the mission. The details build your connections. 

But of course not every detail can be remembered on demand, and this is where tools are essential. We’re long past the rolodex, so an ideal place to manage relationships and record notes is a donor management database. Having an intelligent system makes the recording process simple. then, when it comes time for the next communication, notes can be easily referenced – and those details can be brought up – making people feel valued and special. 

4. Know Your Demographics

No different than any other industry, understanding your market demographics is important to building a foundation of sustainability. Sorting donors into groups by donation amount or date is a great start, but understanding them within these categories is what will launch your fundraising efforts into the next gear. 

This information can be gathered in numerous ways. When registering for an event, original signup, or even by reaching out and asking to complete their profile with you. If fully collected, this information can show where your donors are, most common professions, and familial involvements. Pro Tip: data trend tracking can be tedious, so use a system like DonorNinja with robust reporting tools which allows you to get access to what you need when you need it. 

5. Be Transparent and Say Thank You

Most people want to know what is being done, in general terms, with their donation. Whether it’s building a new facility, funding scholarships, or paying for groceries. When a donor understands the good causes that their contributions will support, it goes a long way in securing those funds. 

Once a donor has contributed, always remember to say thanks! This can be done in a multitude of ways, but we recommend – beyond the obviously thank you – sending both an email formalizing the donation and, to really cement their place in the mission, a follow-up highlighting the impact their donation made with pictures, stats, testimonials, or all of the above. 

Similar to understanding what their contribution will fund, understanding the impact is important to securing future donations.  

That’s it! 5 quick tips to improve your donor community. Our suggestions here are only the first step in sustainable fundraising. Recording this information is just as crucial and DonorNinja can help with that! Check us out to see how our system works in concert with these tips to create a dynamic ecosystem for donor management. 

Have a favorite tip or think we missed something? Come join the conversation with us on Facebook or Twitter.

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About Us

DonorNinja is a software tool focused on streamlining donor and constituent management for nonprofits of all sizes. Our easy-to-use, unified platform allows nonprofit partners to manage fundraising, marketing, reporting and events in one place, affordably.

We believe strongly in relationships, so our team is partner focused, always striving to provide the best experience possible. We know the work your organization does matters and our system frees time so you can better focus on your amazing work!


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