Acquisition Ideas for Small Nonprofits

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Donor acquisition on a tight budget

A friend recently asked me for some ideas on how to start growing a donor base for a small nonprofit who doesn’t have a lot of money to spend.

This seems like that’s always a question, whether you’re working with a small nonprofit or a large one: What are some creative ideas to acquire new donors without spending a lot of money?

As I told her, I’m always great at coming up with ideas as long as someone else will do the hard part – doing the work. So, I thought I’d pass along some thoughts.

One of the first things I would recommend to look at is any resources that the organization has for an online campaign to start to build up a donor file. Who are your board members and what resources do they have? Do they have companies with websites and could they devote a section to your cause?

Do your board members or does your organization have a relationship with local media like the newspaper or a radio or TV station that could help with a campaign to drive people to your website?

Do you have a way to launch a concentrated online campaign around a particular issue? In addition to a lightbox on your home page, you could have other sites (like those board members’ company sites) drive potential donors there.

I once had a client who launched a big campaign in conjunction with a car dealership (the owner was a board member) and the car dealership sponsored TV commercials for the organization to drive people to give (pun intended).

Just some thoughts to get you started. I would love to hear what other small organizations have done to get more new donors with a small budget. Any ideas?

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