January 12, 2022 | Categories Donor Management, DonorPerfect Fundraising Software, Featured, Fundraising Strategies, Nonprofit Technology

5 Ways to Transform Your Donor Base into a Close-Knit Community

5 ways to transform your donor base into a close-knit community
Fundraising is in the middle of a paradigm shift. For a long time, fundraisers have relied on donor-centric strategies that focus on their organization’s interpersonal relationship with a donor and speak to the personal reasons a donor gives. With new generations of donors springing to action in recent years, they bring with them a new motivation to give: they are more cause-driven than they are loyal to any one organization, and they want to be part of something bigger than themselves.

How do you motivate these givers? It’s all about embracing transformational fundraising, which naturally lends itself to donor retention. Here are five ways to incorporate this strategy into your fundraising for the most impact.

Build on your foundational donor data

Which types of donors are inspired by your cause? By using your data to develop defined donor groups, you can tailor your messaging to resonate with more people like them! With donor research tools like DonorPerfect Insights, you can get a snapshot of your donor base that uncovers useful details about your donors that you can use to help shape each group you’ll make your appeals to. Some demographics in the report include:

  • Giving capacity
  • Age/generation
  • Political affiliation
  • Preferred contact method

Show donors you’re listening

People appreciate being heard – just look at Google reviews! People take time to share their feedback, and it’s especially meaningful when someone from the business or organization actually responds to it. Similarly, addressing feedback and taking action on it will only make you a better fundraiser. You’ll become more approachable, trustworthy, respectable – and above all, it will get you closer to your fundraising goals.

Celebrate with your supporters

Celebrate memories and achievements with your supporters to remind them how much they mean to your mission. Some milestones you might celebrate could be:


Schedule reports in your CRM that remind you to reach out to donors in the month of their very first gift, then tell them what they’ve made possible by including in your communication their giving total and years donated.

Donor + volunteer spotlights

Major contributors deserve major recognition. Set your CRM to alert you when a donor has made a major gift or when a volunteer has accrued a certain number of hours. Then, celebrate them on social media, your newsletter, and your website with a photo or video of them. (With their permission, of course!)

Exclusive perks

On top of highlighting the good your donors and volunteers are doing, invite them to share in exclusive perks that make them feel like VIP.

  • Access to restricted areas of your facility
  • Rockstar treatment at events (ex: free meals, meet-and-greets with special guests)
  • Private screenings of impact videos before they hit the public

New donors

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to impress the newest members of your donor community by letting them know they’re a part of your community. The New Donor Welcome Series Email Template Kit can help you make a fabulous first impression.

Invite donors to be experts on your cause

Today’s technology keeps donors sharp on the latest happenings with the causes they’re most passionate about. You can help them channel their energy and knowledge by empowering them to share what they know and encourage others to take action through peer-to-peer fundraising.

Millennials + Generation Z

These socially-conscious generations especially take to this fundraising format because they are inspired by each other’s awareness of social issues and want to feel included in making a difference. Put out the call to action on your social media pages to rally these donors to take part in your fundraising campaign – and put their unique spin on it.


CEOs are encouraging their employees to give back – and they’re leading by example. Get in touch with your corporate donors to determine whether there’s an opportunity to connect their employees to your cause through a matching gift program or fundraising challenge. The workplace is perfect for friendly coworker competition.


Children are naturally empathetic. When they learn that someone needs help, they want to take action – and kids can be truly fearless fundraisers. Consider making fundraising a family affair! Parents may be able to connect you with their child’s school, where staff may already be seeking small-dollar fundraisers or walk-a-thon opportunities.

Build community among your donors

The donors you know by name are the ones who show up to every gala and devote the most time to your volunteer opportunities. It’s because you’ve built more than a donor-fundraiser relationship – you’ve developed a friendship. How can you strengthen the bonds within your donor community to inspire them to keep coming back? There certainly isn’t enough time to befriend each and every one of them. Instead, connect them with each other via events and team-building.

Try these community-focused events to get your donors talking to one another:

  • Traditional galas + fashion shows
  • Barbeques + outdoor games
  • Community cleanups + coffee
  • Happy hours + mixers
  • Concerts

The phrase, “small world” is truer than you think. And when you make your community feel smaller by introducing people to one another, the fight for your cause becomes personal. Who wouldn’t want to support their friends?

When you harness the paradigm shift toward transformational fundraising, you will have greater success rallying your community, funding your mission, and reaching beyond your immediate goals together.

Written by Ally Orlando
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