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When you’re looking to acquire new donors, it can be difficult to know where to start. Who should you target? What strategies should you use?

The good news is that eliminating the guesswork around acquisition can be done. Rather than going on your intuition or gut instinct, data can point you in the right direction and help you create a roadmap that will lead you to individuals with the highest potential to support your organization.

Keep in mind, the goal isn’t necessarily to acquire the most donors—but the right donors. You want to identify those who are most likely to give to your organization and become lifetime supporters. You want to avoid falling into the cycle of having 80% of new donors give once and then hit the road.

So where to begin? Why not by looking at your current donors…

Before you can map out the most efficient route to a destination, you must first know your starting point. For acquisition purposes, that involves getting an in-depth understanding of your current base by answering questions like:

  • Who is supporting you now?
  • What do they “look” like demographically?
  • Where do they live?
  • Why do they support your organization?
  • What other similar organizations do they support?
  • How does their support for you compare to other organizations they support?

There are a couple different ways you can go about answering these questions:

One would be through market research. This could involve actually talking to people who match the profile that you are going after to find out who they are. You want to know what motivates them. If your organization is their charity of choice, find out why.

You can also look at social media and other unstructured information, and really gather the context that helps you understand how these people think—especially how they think about philanthropy and how they engage with organizations.

Create 3-5 segments of your various donors based on demographics to get an understanding of who is currently giving to you.

The goal is to develop profiles of individuals who are most likely to donate to your organization. It’s also a good idea to calculate the lifetime value of each identified segment. Here’s a simple formula you can use to determine lifetime value:

Average number of years on file x Average number of gifts per year x Average gift amount = Lifetime Value

Determining which of your segments have the highest lifetime value can help you hone in on the profiles you really want to target to achieve the highest return on your acquisition investment.

How can you use what you know about your current donors to more effectively reach new donors? Download “The Art & Science of Acquisition” to learn more.