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How to Use Tech to Find Nonprofit Donors

Looking for new donors? Your technology might be the easiest way to find them.

How to Use Tech to Find Nonprofit Donors

Even when you’re an established nonprofit with an impressive mission and loyal cadre of supporters, the time comes for you to find new donors. And you’re not alone. With about 2 million nonprofits in the U.S., there are a lot of sophisticated nonprofits canvassing for new donors.

It’s critical that nonprofits continue to recruit new supporters. The average donor is 64 years old…while we all know that’s not old by a long stretch, it does show that having a robust pipeline of younger donors can assure your nonprofit's longevity and financial health.

Think of the donor journey. From becoming aware of your nonprofit to being a dedicated sustainer and advocate spreading the word, there are stages at which targeted engagement will move that donor through the journey. A healthy nonprofit consistently moves new donors through the stages, ultimately developing a strong sustainer pool that forms a rock-solid financial foundation.

donor journey

Some technology tools and features, as well as run-of-the-mill tips, will help any nonprofit find individuals willing to throw their long-term support behind a mission. We sprinkle in some features of our software; even if you’re not a client, you can ask your vendor if they have comparable technology.

Tech Tips and Tools

No matter how large or small your team or how stretched your resources might be, there are many ways you can use technology to find data that will unearth new donors.

Social Media Analysis

Let’s begin with a simple approach. Many social media analytic tools track and evaluate your content, offering insights into what you’re posting and who follows you. You can learn about an individual's interests and engagement patterns, which can help you tailor outreach efforts.

You can also look at the followers of similar nonprofit social media accounts to see a cohort of supporters.

If you’re simply trying to attract new donors on social media, focus on educating the public about your mission. Share impact stories, find community support for events, and use social media to publicize a peer-to-peer campaign.

Social media isn’t the techiest way to find donors, but it can work, albeit on a slower scale.

Use Your Donor Database

A system like CharityEngine uniquely offers a 360° view of anyone in your database. That means that individuals who aren’t donors but have engaged with your nonprofit in some way—perhaps they were a plus-one at an event or volunteered to help at a P2P event—can be grouped and targeted with personalized outreach to entice them to support your organization.

When this data is mapped to dashboards in real time, you can quickly identify helpful giving patterns or other trends. For example, a donor who gives sporadically can be nurtured to become a sustainer, and a sustainer can be nurtured to become a provider of a major gift.

If your database offers fundraising software, ask if email automation is included. Once your audience is segmented, you can run sequences of personalized emails to nurture them. This helps you send targeted messages, track engagement, and move supporters down the donor journey.

Wealth-Screening Tools

Tools that measure wealth indicators can be invaluable resources for nonprofits. Tools such as WealthEngine, a CharityEngine partner, identify individuals with stock or property ownership, advanced degrees, or business success. The tool will also screen individuals for past philanthropic giving. The many data points collected help paint a picture of a donor’s propensity to give and specifics about the amount they’re likely to give.

Not only do tools like this help you find new donors, but they also help you find donors capable of (and willing to provide) substantial gifts. Double the Donation offers a list of additional wealth screening use cases:

  • Prep for upcoming events so that you can focus on those attendees with the highest capacity to give
  • Inform your fundraising campaign objectives
  • Tailor individual asks
  • Identify candidates for planned or legacy-giving outreach
  • Pursue corporate matching gift opportunities

Wealth Engine-1When a wealth-screening tool is integrated with your database, the way it is for CharityEngine customers, the data is added to the contact records. In this way, your profiles are enriched even beyond prospect engagement with your organization.

Use AI and BI to Your Advantage

Harnessing the growing power of AI (artificial intelligence), BI (business intelligence) and even ML (machine learning) to analyze data and predict outcomes offers nonprofits a powerful tool in donor identification, acquisition, and even retention.

For example, CharityEngine clients enjoy a gift probability tool right on each contact record. At a glance, see if it’s the right time to reach out to that contact, as well as how engaged they are, the recommended gift ask, and the probability (measured as a percentage) that the supporter is likely to make a gift.

gift probability-1As you can see, leveraging thousands of tracked data points, AI, and big data algorithms to calibrate and optimize giving potential is a fantastic tool for finding new supporters and maximizing the giving of existing donors.

Online Rating Sites

In a world where would-be consumers google product ratings before making a purchase, it stands to reason that would-be donors research the ratings of nonprofits that pique their interest.

We dove into Charity Navigator, one of the biggest rating sites, and showed nonprofits how to maximize their scores and exposure. We recommend nonprofits check four more rating sites to ensure each has correct information: GuideStar, CharityWatch,, and GreatNonprofits.

What if someone leaves you a less-than-stellar review? Reach out, genuinely curious about what went wrong and how you can fix it. Kindness and understanding remove the fangs from online reviews and ignoring comments or arguing simply sharpens them.

Tap Into Tech to Grow Your Nonprofit

By adopting technology—whether it’s pushing the limits of your CRM or even shopping for a new one—you’re maximizing resources to find new pools of potential donors and forging relationships that will fuel your success. Of course, we will insist that robust fundraising software puts all this technology at your fingertips and keeps you in the know as it’s updated and expanded.

We’d also tell you that there’s tech for every nonprofit. If you haven’t found your perfect match, keep looking, because it’s out there. And, like in a fairy tale, the slipper that fits will propel your fundraising to heights you won’t believe.

Even if you’re not interested in our software, keep an eye on this space. Yes, you can call us to check out our software, but we also offer tons of free advice and tools to any nonprofit. After all, it’s our goal to power the good to be great.