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Donor Engagement. Get a Date First.

You can't ask potential donors for support if they don't even know you exist. You also can't expect much if they don't get your mission and the important work your organization does for the community.

Enter 'donor engagement.' This strategy brings people closer to your mission and leads to financial support. It's often an after-thought when it should be your first thought.

Holding events, big or small, is a good donor engagement strategy. Events really shine when they are used to build awareness, engage donors in your mission, and build relationships. (Once you have these going for you, THEN ask for support.)

Set aside the gala idea for a moment. Think 'cheap and cheerful'. Let the creative juices flow! What can you do that will motivate the kinds of people you want to attract to shed their bedroom slippers?

Site tours are an obvious go-to but not every nonprofit has a site to tour. Volunteer shifts have the same limitations. These constraints should give you permission to think imaginatively!

My thanks to National Geographic Kids for the inspiration. The ISU-1 Grand Prix is a two-hour office chair race run by the Japan Office Chair Racing Association. How fun would an obstacle course race be in the hallways of a high school to benefit an education nonprofit? Or a corporate dining hall team relay to get the attention of tech sector Millennials? It's memorable, it's targeted, and it initiates the relationship with potential donors you want to engage.

Find the donor engagement strategy that is the best fit for your nonprofit. Then get ready for the donor boom!

TOMOHIRO OHSUMI, Getty Images, National Geographic Kids, Jan 2023

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