September 15, 2023
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

Attract New Donors to Your Nonprofit With Bold Campaign Ideas

Attracting new donors is a top priority for nonprofit organizations because it is crucial to successful fundraising outcomes and critical to surviving in a competitive nonprofit landscape. Most nonprofits develop an engaged donor community by hosting free events like service projects, camps, and classes. While these activities can increase engagement with existing donors, it is more important than ever to cast a wide net to capture all possible new donors within your local and digital community.

Nonprofits should consider community-building ideas to attract new donors as something that happens in tandem with a fundraising campaign. Taking the time to add in the donor-building layer can make the difference between a campaign that stays within your organization’s circle and a campaign that makes national news and attracts new donors. Here are some ideas and examples of successful campaigns that helped to attract new donors to ensure another year of committed donors for these nonprofits.

Grassroots efforts help create tangible touchpoints for new donors.

Grassroots marketing is drumming up interest in a cause, brand, or idea using a targeted and highly niche audience. Most grassroots efforts are tangible and are most successful when there is a community focus. For example, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge helped to build a viral trend that supported a cause. It brought awareness to a cause, but users were able to get physically involved and could then follow the magnitude of online involvement. While ALS initiatives have been around for many years, this brought the cause to light for many new individuals drawn into the community trend. Creating a movement will be vital to attracting more new donors than before, so develop fun campaigns that make it easy for potential donors to get involved.


Influencers help make your cause relatable for new donors. 

Influencers aren’t going anywhere, so it’s time to embrace what influencers offer: relatability. Influencers and online collaborators are genuinely influential in today’s digital world, which is critical for successful new donor growth. They can influence the type of people with whom a nonprofit wishes to establish a touchpoint. Influencer marketing is much more than finding someone with an audience and offering them money or exposure to say good things about you. Influencers have perfected the art of attracting a community. They have involved and genuinely connected followers who trust their voices. For example, YouTuber Tyler Oakley has raised more than $1 million along with his followers for The Trevor Project, the leading national nonprofit for crisis and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth. Being an influencer’s charity of choice will be a powerful asset moving into 2023, so make influencer relations now. 


Events help make your organization memorable to new donors. 

Large-scale events become a part of your organization’s brand, making these events essential for engaging existing donors while attracting new ones and creating a long-lasting impression. Most nonprofits host an annual fundraising event, which allows organizations to invite new donors to join the community and come together with other donors to celebrate. For example, Walk to End Alzheimer’s is not only the Alzheimer’s Association’s annual event but has become what they are remembered for, although they have many programs year-round. They have worked on adding even more meaningful moments at their events, such as the flower garden. Each year, walk registrants select a colored flower that represents who they are walking for, whether someone recently diagnosed or lost a fight to ALZ. These are moments where new donors can feel part of something much bigger than themselves, creating a lasting impact. Ensure your staff is trained to make new donors feel connected and educated on all the elements that make your event unique.


Social media strategies help invite new donors into the conversation.

Social media is a natural fit for attracting new donors, but many nonprofit organizations still have one-way conversations with current donors, which isn’t appealing to new donors. Think about it this way; if you enter a discussion and no one’s discussing, there isn’t anything to join in on. Approach social media conversationally to truly engage your community of donors; what thoughts do you have to share, and how will that encourage your audience to provide their thoughts? Many nonprofits may open these conversations by asking followers to share their experiences, but it’s essential to be open to hearing your donors’ frustrations or suggested solutions. Instead of gearing the conversation around your organization, focus on the cause that brought your donors together. For example, Tarana Burke of the nonprofit Just Be Inc. launched the original #MeToo campaign. #MeToo was meant to be a movement that provides “empowerment through empathy” to survivors of sexual abuse, assault, exploitation, and harassment. In 2023, it will be critical to break out of corporate communication styles and foster open conversations with your donors to attract new donors to jump into the conversation.

Attracting new donors is no easy feat, and it might be one of the slower returns of investments, but it can also be the most long-lasting. By implementing substantial grassroots efforts that spread like wildfire to partnering with influencers who genuinely want to champion your mission, new donors can create a connected community of donors eager to stay engaged with your organization.

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