How to Get Donations

How to Get Donations

What are the most effective ways to get people to donate? When fundraising, it ALL boils down to this, doesn’t it? How to get donations. How to get people to donate. It’s the HOW you do what you do, as a proud member of the nonprofit industry.  EVERYTHING – all your blood, sweat and tears – is about getting more donations for your cause, so you can fulfill your mission and deliver needed services. There are little tweaks to make in your approach to fundraising, that’ll pay off big time in terms of how much money you raise. Here are some tried-and-true methods for getting more donations for your nonprofit.


1. Storytelling

If you’re lucky, people will know and remember your mission statement. The words in it, that is. But if you want to stay in people’s minds forever, tell stories about the people, places and/or animals you serve. Mission stories are always more memorable than mission statements. You’re changing lives, right? Don’t just SAY this is what you’re doing. SHOW HOW you’re doing it. Share real-world examples of the impact your good work is making. Not sure how? Reach out – we can help! Nonprofit stories warm our hearts. We’d love to help you tell yours.

2. Demonstrate Impact

It’s the grownup version of the classroom tradition, “Show and tell.” Keep it in mind when asking people to donate for a cause. TELL folks how you’ll use their donation and SHOW the impact those donations make. Let’s say, for instance, you’re raising money for an animal rescue org. Let donors know how many more animals you’ll be able to save once you have THEIR help. We’re all in this together, right? During a special appeal or paddle raise, educate folks – at all giving levels, large and small – about what their donation can help your org accomplish. This makes their donation tangible in their minds. When folks can envision the REAL difference their money can make, they’re more likely to give. Let them see the impact they’re making and they’ll continue to support you.

3. Make it EASY

What is the single biggest barrier between a big donation and your org? Can you guess? It’s making the giving or donation process too complicated. We cannot underestimate how much of a no-no this is. The more steps donors must take to give you money, the more likely it is they’ll go away and take their dollars with them. It’s absolutely essential you determine how to get donations online and the easiest way to collect them for YOUR nonprofit. In other words, the best way to collect donations online varies significantly from org to org, since their donor demographics vary as well. Reach out – we can help you determine your course!

How to Get Donations For A Cause4. (Over) Share on Social!

You may have read the studies suggesting social media platforms contribute to FOMO (fear of missing out). Great news – in terms of giving, FOMO can work to your advantage! How to get people to donate? Well, when they hear all about your impact in the world and about how OTHER people are donating to your cause, they’ll want to join in the fun. So make sure to celebrate the gifts you receive through social media. The more people who see it, the better. Yes, we admit it. We’re fully advocating for a bit of healthy peer pressure here! FOMO and peer pressure can be pretty powerful tools for how to get people to donate. Use your tools wisely and well.

5. Abundant Appreciation

Thoughtful thank-yous and sincere gratitude are also powerful tools, not only to get people to donate but also to secure future donations and keep donor attrition low. If your donors feel the love and appreciation from you, they’ll likely continue to support you, year after year (as long as they have the means). Consider going beyond the expected obligatory and therefore boring “thank you for your generous donation” note. Check out our article on thoughtful thank-yous for some creative ideas on showing your donors abundant appreciation. It’s so much more than just good manners. It’s an investment in your org’s future. People won’t forget how you made them feel, when you go above and beyond in showing your gratitude. And they’re more likely to reward you for it next time you ask.

6. Build Relationships

What’s the most powerful and effective way to procure corporate sponsorships? In a word – RELATIONSHIPS. It’s ALL about developing and maintaining personal relationships with individuals. Get to know the folks who work at the companies you’re requesting donations from. Make your org a water cooler discussion topic! Ideally, those relationships will get stronger and deeper, year after year. It’s better to keep your partners than to find new ones every year. Your loyalty will be rewarded! Building relationships is a great task to assign to your board of directors. A strong, effective board has tons of connections and is happy to spread the word about the great works your nonprofit is doing. They wouldn’t (or shouldn’t!) be members of your board if they weren’t willing to fundraise on your behalf. Like those powerful fundraising tools we mentioned earlier, use them!

When it comes to the ask itself, be thoughtful and thorough. You can do better than a boring old email that might very well wind up in someone’s spam folder. If you’re going to send an email, make it stand out. A video presentation, for example. Or make the ask live, via a phone call or video meeting. You’re going for the personal touch here. Also, be sure to keep your sponsorship packets up-to-date. Be crystal clear about two things: What you’re asking for specifically, AND what you’re willing to offer in return for the corporate sponsorship. 

We’d be remiss if we didn’t circle back to storytelling and proof of impact here. They’re paramount to getting donations from companies. For those with the means – and this goes for individuals AND corporations – it’s hard to resist donating to a cause when you’re hit right in the feels. And that is precisely what a powerful, emotional story will do. 

Ready to go out and get people to donate for a cause – YOURS? Let’s do this! Reach out. Let’s start reimagining your next successful fundraising event.