4 types of donors your nonprofit should target

The foundation of any successful nonprofit is the combination of strong internal resources and a reliable donation network. Keeping a pool of consistent benefactors may be challenging at times, but a charity in touch with its mission and its donors' needs will likely be processing donations from recurring givers on a more frequent basis.

An established network not only contains consistent benefactors, it also should comprise of a diverse profile of individuals varying in age, income and social status. Listed below are four types of donors a nonprofit should have in its pool:

  1. Prospective givers: As much as they'd like to, charitable organizations can't always rely on their established givers. While retention is important, finding new benefactors is equally as crucial because growth doesn't happen without the addition of new contributors. Prospective givers may not donate immediately, but with continued marketing efforts, they'll be more apt to fill out a donation form when the time is right financially.
  2. Corporations: A common misconception amongst nonprofits is that corporate donors are best suited for  larger organizations. However, smaller charities with a strong mission statement and display of passion are equally as qualified as their bigger counterparts; all it takes is a different approach, Entrepreneur magazine says. These donors expect certain things in return, such as a press release announcing a gift or a check presentation at a public event, but the extra work is worth the funding and the relationship. Corporations will likely give to a nonprofit with a mission that aligns with their company beliefs or the sentiment of their employees, so charity board members and marketing personnel should help them make that connection.
  3. The big wigs: Similar to the corporate donors, the major players often take some convincing before they're willing to put pen to paper. Once the courtship is complete, they typically give in large sums, either on an annual basis or every few years. A large donation can be used for a number of things, and the big wigs like to be kept in the loop as to how their money is making an impact. A good point of contact is a charity's board - members often consist of influential people. More often than not, a major donor is put in touch with a nonprofit through a board member's list of contacts, so a great way to start reaching out is by having your executives contact their high-powered friends and family, Entrepreneur suggests.
  4. Everyday donors: This subset of individual may be the largest group for most nonprofits because it consists of people from different demographics and financial classes. The everyday donor may be an 18 year old who donates $20 via your online donation form, or he or she could be a middle-aged homeowner who gives $2,500. Regardless of the amount, this group is essential for nonprofits because they make up the lion's share of donations. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, 72 percent of total giving in 2012 came from individual or everyday donors. While the gift amount may not parallel a corporate or major donor, the frequency and timeliness of donations are higher in this subset.
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