How to Find Nonprofit Donors (Step-by-Step)

  • By: Gina Guy
  • May 24, 2024
How to Find Nonprofit Donors
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Nonprofits rely on donations, grants, and fundraising to remain in operation. However, these types of funding are unpredictable due to resources, outreach issues, and competition with other deserving organizations. 

Due to this uncertainty, nonprofits must constantly find new donors to support their mission. These donors could be individuals, corporations, or foundations providing one-time or recurring donations or sponsoring specific initiatives.  

The board of directors is often tasked with securing new donors for a 501c3 nonprofit. Build your donor base with the following steps.

1. Identify Your Target Audience

Identifying your target audience allows you to concentrate your efforts on attracting individuals or businesses genuinely interested in your cause. Identify your target audience by analyzing feedback from various channels, such as direct mail, email campaigns, social media, and fundraising events. Evaluating your current donors can also help you create detailed donor personas.

Once you’ve identified your target audience, focus on building strong relationships to foster long-term donor loyalty and engagement. This ongoing connection is essential for sustaining support and achieving your organization’s goals.

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2. Leverage Existing Network

Utilizing your existing network can be a powerful strategy for finding donors. Your network includes friends, family, and colleagues, as well as current and previous donors and volunteers. Peer-to-peer fundraising personalizes the interaction, and often yields positive results.

Prepare a compelling pitch before conducting outreach to your network. Tailor your outreach efforts to each individual with personalized messages, phone calls, and professional yet intimate meetings. Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals from your existing network so you can build new connections with potential donors.

3. Build a Strong Online Presence

Reach a wider audience by building a strong online presence that attracts donors from different geographic locations. Expanding your reach online increases visibility for your nonprofit and provides donors a convenient way to learn about your cause and contribute. 

Utilize social media platforms to broaden your reach and drive traffic back to your website. Regularly post engaging content, share success stories, and update your followers on upcoming events and initiatives. Additionally, create online fundraisers through social media or crowdfunding websites to facilitate easy donations.

Optimize your website to ensure it’s user-friendly, informative, and mobile-responsive. Include compelling stories, clear calls to action, and straightforward donation options. Implement SEO strategies to improve your site’s visibility in search engine results, making it easier for potential donors to find you.

4. Offer Multiple Giving Options

Providing multiple giving options increases the likelihood of donations by allowing donors to contribute in the manner that works best for them. Donation options include:

  • Online donation portals
  • Direct mail postcards that can be sent back with a check
  • QR codes at events that link to your organization’s Venmo
  • Ticket sales for fundraising events
  • Text-to-give campaigns

By diversifying the ways donors can contribute, you not only accommodate their preferences but also create a more inclusive and accessible environment for support, ultimately strengthening your nonprofit’s financial foundation and broadening its impact.

5. Seek Corporate Sponsorships

Corporate sponsorships can provide significant support for your nonprofit. Many corporations offer matching programs for employees or directly sponsor nonprofit organizations. To secure these partnerships, develop a compelling sponsorship proposal that clearly outlines your mission and highlights the benefits businesses will receive as sponsors.

Once your proposal is ready, identify and research key individuals within the corporations you wish to approach. Tailor your outreach to each potential sponsor and arrange meetings or presentations to pitch your proposal. Emphasize how their sponsorship will make a meaningful impact on your cause and provide mutual benefits.

After securing a sponsorship, maintain a strong relationship by promptly fulfilling your commitments and consistently communicating progress and successes. Demonstrating professionalism and delivering on promises encourages long-term partnerships.

6. Measure and Communicate Your Impact

Regularly analyze your nonprofit’s data, including the number of people served, outcomes achieved, and funds raised. Use this data to assess the effectiveness and outcomes of your nonprofit’s initiatives and clearly communicate the results with donors. 

When donors see how their contributions are making a difference, they’re more likely to continue supporting your cause. Clearly show how funds are being used and the tangible outcomes achieved through compelling stories, infographics, and detailed reports.

How OnBoard Supports Nonprofits

To brainstorm fundraising ideas or build nonprofit annual reports that detail donations earned, nonprofit boards need purpose-built software that streamlines meetings and offers secure data storage. 

OnBoard, the most trusted board portal solution for nonprofits, enables nonprofit board members to achieve more. Its features include:

  • Agenda builder: Aids in organizing fundraising meetings by structuring topics, discussions, and activities. 
  • Meeting analytics: Measures and increases engagement during meetings and provides a bird’s eye view of annotations and popular sections of board books,  empowering organizations to make data-driven decisions.
  • Skills tracking: Easily identify your board’s experience in specific areas (including fundraising), highlight gaps, and take action to build a recruiting plan that aligns with your organization’s strategic direction.
  • Minutes builder: Take effective nonprofit board meeting minutes to ensure follow-up tasks don’t fall through the cracks.


Enhance nonprofit governance with software that empowers nonprofit boards to work more efficiently. Check out our board meeting minutes template for an example of how the best boards structure minutes. 

Ready to take your meeting agenda and minutes to the next level? Request a demo or a free trial of OnBoard, the board intelligence platform that empowers boards and committees to hold more effective, informed, and uncomplicated meetings. 

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About The Author

Gina Guy
Gina Guy
Gina Guy is an implementation consultant who specializes in working with nonprofit organizations get the most from their board meetings. She loves helping customers ease their workloads through their use of OnBoard. A Purdue University graduate, Gina enjoys refinishing furniture, running, kayaking, and traveling in her spare time. She lives in Monticello, Indiana, with her husband.