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How to Get Your Donors' Attention

Updated: Jul 2, 2021

Nonprofits are competing for eyeballs just like every for-profit company out there. Look at your inbox on #GivingTuesday and you know what I mean.

Professional marketers, and I used to be one, are trained to hunt for breakthrough marketing opportunities that cut through the clutter. It sounds obvious, but in order to connect with a potential donor, you have to get their attention. And that can be hard.

In this digital age of automated tax acknowledgement letters and mail-merged email appeals -- which are necessary and play an important role too -- I’m convinced the breakthrough marketing play for nonprofits is going analog.

My high school son got a phone call last week and as I saw him pacing across the yard chatting on the phone, I genuinely got concerned. "Is everything okay? You never get phone calls,” I said, fortunately overthinking the call.

A short phone call, a brief handwritten note, even a personal text with a link to an article that speaks to you -- these are all breakthrough marketing techniques for a nonprofit - and yes, leaving a voicemail counts too. Executed strategically, it can create powerful connections with your donors because it’s personal. The beauty of it is that it doesn’t even need to be deployed universally to your donor base to be effective and it’s a high impact activity that the entire staff and all board members can participate in to great effect.

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