Increasing Your Donor Referrals

You know better than anyone how hypercompetitive it is for nonprofit organizations to acquire new donors that are loyal and engaged. Getting donor referrals are an excellent way to fight through the fundraising clutter. Follow these steps to help with donor referrals:

1. Analyze Your Online Traffic: When you understand where your traffic is coming from and how that traffic is engaging with your organization, you can make a smart decision on how to ask for more referrals from current donors.

2. Ask the Right Way: Asking for a recommendation is important but in order to be successful, you should be asking for referrals the right way. Your ‘ask’ message should be tailored to the targeted audience.

3. Remind Your Donors to Refer: Take every opportunity to remind your current donors about referring their friends, family, and business associates. Include your referral message in all forms of marketing media and campaigns.

4. Engage in Active Feedback: Is your website easy to navigate? Is it easy to make a donation? Do your current donors strongly believe that you need their support? The only way to find the answers to these questions is through listening to donor feedback. By taking feedback seriously and truly listening to what your donors are saying, you will be able to make improvements that positively impact your organization.

5. Follow Up With Current Donors: Say thank you promptly and follow up after a donation. Numerous studies have shown this will keep your donors engaged and willing to talk about your organization to others. Answering a donation with appreciation will let donors know how important their gift is to your cause and will encourage positive word of mouth.

6. Don’t Forget Social Media: Staying in touch with your donors through social media is a great way to stay fresh in their mind. It gives your donors the opportunity to share content and refer great people to your organization with just the click of a button!

7. Keep a Unified and Branded Message: Your message should accurately reflect your brand. The more consistent your message is when communicating with donors, the more likely that message will stick and make an impression on your donor, thus increasing the chances that donor will make a referral.


Here is our challenge for you: identify the top 20 to 25 satisfied donors to target and plan your approach. This includes how and when to ask, and creating your branded message. Include your staff in this process and challenge them to ask for a referral from individuals who visit or call your location. Think of how much you could accomplish if you were able to get referrals from even a fraction of your most satisfied donors who are willing to refer your organization! Have questions or need help with your agency's donor referral strategies? Reach our and speak with one of our account managers.

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