Converting strangers into major donors using the conversion funnel

June 03 2022
A donor gives funds online to a non-profit organization with his credit card.

To make a difference, it is important that your organization can convert people who have never heard of you into supporters who will give to your cause on a regular basis. To do this, we recommend that you take advantage of the conversion funnel: understanding it well is a good first step to mastering it!

Whether you are looking for donations for a specific fundraising campaign or to add more members to your monthly giving program, these steps will help you connect with the perfect charitable people in no time.

Here is a summary of the steps detailed in this article:

  1. Identification. Find people who might be interested in supporting your cause.
  2. Research. Learn more about their financial capacity, areas of interest, and preferred communication channels.
  3. Cultivation. Connect with your target audience by sharing information and inviting them to your events.
  4. Solicitation. Ask for the right amount, to the right person, for the right project, at the right time.
  5. Conclusion. Set a specific amount and complete the transaction.
  6. Acknowledgment. Show your appreciation with concrete actions.
  7. Retention. Maintain your relationship with your new contacts by recognizing their contribution to the cause and the impact of their donations, and by clearly sharing what you are doing with the funds raised.

The stages of a stranger converting to a regular donor

1. Identification

First, you’ll need to identify your target audience — the people who are most likely to donate to your organization.

Find the people who are likely to be interested in your cause and track them down: look for a trend among people who have subscribed to your newsletter, scour Facebook groups, explore web pages related to your cause, find out where philanthropists hang out, in short, get into detective mode.

You need to know exactly who you want to attract so you can avoid shooting in the dark and coming up empty-handed!

2. Research

Once you’ve identified your target, much like a Sherlock Holmes of philanthropy, get to know the members of your new audience. Find out:

  • their demographics,
  • their financial capabilities,
  • their areas of interest,
  • their preferred communication channels,
  • their preferred ways of giving,
  • their history of philanthropic involvement.

Elementary, my dear Watson: the generations do not have the same budgets and are not interested in the same causes, just as they do not like to be contacted in the same way. Your solicitation methods will therefore vary greatly depending on the age and personality of your target audience.

For example, we know that baby boomers prefer to receive printed flyers in the mail, while millennials strongly favour social media and email.

3. Cultivation

Now that the Nancy Drew in you has done her homework and fully identified your audience, connect with them. You can do this, for example, by sharing information about your cause and inviting key people to your events.

Show them the difference you’re making in the world, but more importantly, show them how much fun you have doing it.

Share your successes and appreciation for the people who attend your events, especially in places where your targets will see them. It’s important to get the word out about your organization on a positive note to make everyone want to be a part of it before you start soliciting.

4. Solicitation

Based on what you have discovered in your investigation and the resources at your disposal, determine how you will engage the right person, at the right time, in a way that will capture their attention.

Will you choose to solicit:

  • by phone calls,
  • on a busy street corner,
  • in the subway,
  • with a booth at an event,
  • through your partners,
  • by email,
  • by mail,
  • or even 100% on social networks?

It will all depend on what you’ve determined with your Columbo-like flair.

5. Conclusion

Ka-ching! Congratulations, you are receiving funds for your cause!

Once you’ve agreed on an amount with your donor, make sure that the transaction goes smoothly and that their experience is optimal so that they will want to support you again in the future.

You may have received money, but your work here isn't done yet, read on!

6. Acknowledgment

Now, it’s vitally important to maintain relationships with people who have offered you a contribution, whether financial or otherwise (because volunteering is important too!)

Remember that unlike Batman, who operates in the darkness of anonymity, most people do good deeds in the hope of some form of social recognition. Whether it’s an email, a text message, a card in the mail, or even a slightly more public announcement, show your gratitude to your partners in a tangible way, for both small and large contributions.

A person who is satisfied with their experience will be much easier to approach again!

7. Retention

Maintain your relationship with your philanthropists by clearly sharing what you are doing with the money raised.

People donate to nonprofits with the intention to make the world a better place, so they want to know for sure that their money is helping to achieve that goal. By being transparent and telling them exactly how their donations are being used, you will encourage them to believe in your work and therefore be more inclined to give again.

However, there is a difference between informing and re-soliciting. If people made the effort to subscribe to your newsletter, they may react badly if they receive more requests for funding than information on the projects carried out thanks to their donations.

By telling them exactly how their donations are being used, you will encourage philanthropists to believe in your work and therefore to give again (when you approach them at the right time. If in doubt, review point 4).

📌 Remember: A person will never stop supporting an organization because they have received too much information. However, the opposite situation is quite possible.

Let’s make a difference together

In the end, it’s not just the solicitation methods that count: the collection method does too. Fun fundraising campaigns will attract a lot more … and a lot more donations! Check out our packages and discover why a Followmybid auction is a great way to raise funds in a creative and fun manner!

Wishing you good solicitations (and good investigations) 😉

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