Funding for Donor Acquisition & for Donor Research

Sections of this topic

    As previously noted, Donor Acquisition, requires an investment … often, a significant investment. But with many nonprofits finding finances a little tight, the question often is, “Where do we get the money?”

    I’ll start by examining the components of a donor acquisition mailing – the package: The carrier envelope, the letter, the return envelope and (occasionally) an insert – a brochure or flyer. Each of those elements can be used to raise the funds needed to produce and mail the package.

    The letter can come from, and be “signed” by, a donor who will fund the mailing; and, the carrier envelope can have that donor’s return address – assuming that the donor is well known enough to get people to want to open an envelope with his/her corner-card.

    An insert can bear the statement that it was funded by “Donor Name;” and, the return envelope can be addressed to the donor in-care-of the organization’s address.

    In fact, different batches of letters can be signed by different individuals; the same for different batches of inserts; and, the different batches of return envelopes can be addressed to different donors….

    That way, donors lend/add their credibility and reputation to that of the nonprofit, and the nonprofit adds to the donors’ visibility and position in the community.

    A Planning Study is also an activity that can be funded by one-or-more donors.

    One of the early steps in a Planning Study is to send potential interviewees a note describing the process and asking that they agree to be interviewed. A letter that comes from the right person can impact the likelihood of that participation. Then, when the potential interviewee is called to set up an appointment, the caller notes that s/he is calling on behalf of “Donor Name;” and, the “Thank You” note, for participating in the Study can be signed by a donor.

    Each of these opportunities, like the Naming Opportunities in a major campaign, is “priced” at what the market will bear. The cost of mailings, of printing flyers, or of any element (or elements) of an activity, should bear no relation to what you might ask the donor to pay for the “Opportunity.”

    One last thought: When you think of who might be the right people to approach to help with this kind of funding, don’t forget corporations.

    We’ve been posting these pieces for the last five years,
    and we’re now at a point where, to keep this “blog” alive,
    we need your questions/problems to engender further discussion.
    Look forward to hearing from you.
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