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New Year, New Strategy: Activating Donors in 2014

The number of donors engaging with nonprofits has been declining over the past two years. In 2012, every 100 donors gained resulted in 107 lost, and the numbers were similar in 2011. As the donor population ages, nonprofit organizations must rethink fundraising strategies to reach donors of every generation. After all, it’s a new year - the very best time to start fresh.

1) Focus on transparency.

Today’s donors are more skeptical than ever, partially due to great amount of misinformation available online. I saw this “Think before you donate” chart shared upwards of twenty times on Facebook during 2013. The information in the chart was rated mostly outdated and inaccurate by, but unfortunately, most social media users don’t research the facts before they click share.

By participating in programs like GuideStar Exchange, nonprofit organizations show that they’re dedicated to transparency. In 2014, take it a step further: make the percentage of donations used to fund your mission readily available on your website. Be honest about your failures. When you’re the victim of a viral lie or other bad press, respond. Tell donors why they should still trust you.

2) Engage donors online and on mobile devices.

Although donation amounts aren’t increasing rapidly year to year, one aspect of donating is: online and mobile donation. In 2012, online donation grew 14%. #GivingTuesday, which signifies the start of donation season, increased a whopping 90% last year.

Nonprofit organizations should focus on reaching donors where they already are - and for most, that means online. Take a look at Okanjo’s suite of mobile-friendly nonprofit fundraising solutions to get started activating audiences online today.

3) Get creative.

Think outside of your organization’s typical fundraising box. If you’re excellent at reaching donors online, use that presence to drive that audience to an event to spike donations. Plug your online presence at events and everywhere else, too.

Have a video expert on staff? Create as many videos as you can. Video marketing goes hand-in-hand with storytelling and videos are far more likely to be shared online than any other kind of media. Consider asking your staff or volunteers for creative fundraising ideas, then try as many as you can. And last but not least, be sure to test out new tools to help you reach these goals.

How is your organization getting creative in 2014? Leave a comment below or email me at and let me know how we can help.

Brendon Thomas The following is a guest post by Brendon Thomas, president of Okanjo, a Cloud Commerce solutions company that activates audiences to do good. Under Brendon’s direction, Okanjo has given back to over 400 nonprofit organizations, and that number is rapidly growing. In his free time, Brendon is actively involved in Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s vibrant local tech community.

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