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4 Steps to Attract & Retain More Donors Every Month

Photo of Chris Barlow, a white man with brown hair wearing a plaid button-down shirt behind an orange and peach background
Jenna Collins

Did you know that for every dollar spent attracting new donors via email, organizations generate about $40 in return (Source: Litmus)? That’s a pretty convincing equation, but in today’s competitive market with information overload, it can be difficult for nonprofits to consistently find and reach new prospective donors. So, how can your organization break through these barriers and attract hundreds of new donors each month?

Founder and Customer Happiness Director of Beeline, Chris Barlow, encourages nonprofits to adopt four simple steps to increase prospective donors and reach hundreds of new potential supporters each month.

1. Validate New Relationships and Create Resources

When reaching new prospective donors, like starting any new relationship, it’s important to consider the donors’ needs; not just your own. Think of it as adding value to a person’s life before asking them for value.

First, conduct market research to understand what your prospective donors need and want. Are there any services they’re looking for or are they seeking answers to questions that relate to your mission? (Hint: Keyword research on Google and Bing or one-on-one interviews with prospects are good places to start!)

Next, develop content that provides valuable insights or information based on what your audience is searching for to attract them to your website. Partnering with a subject matter expert or working with a partner to re-purpose content can make the task less daunting and more efficient.

READ NEXT: SEO Resources for Nonprofits

2. Offer and Thank (Confirm the Relationship)

With interest shown and a new audience member on your website, shift your focus to converting your viewer into an email subscriber.

First, offer content you’ve created by dedicating a landing page on your website to a resource that answers their questions or addresses issues related to your organization’s mission and expertise. The goal of this page is to connect with your viewers’ problem, help them see why they should stay on your page, and provide them a valuable reason to do so.

Second, after they’ve downloaded or engaged with your resource in some way (by providing their email address), thank them. Express gratitude to your new subscriber for trusting you with their time and email address. This includes an immediate message and automated email that states why the resource they downloaded or interacted with contributes to your mission and foreshadows an introduction to your nonprofit. This will set you up to take the next step toward turning your viewer or subscriber into a donor.

3. Implement an Email Welcome Series

Once you’ve offered resources and thanked your new subscriber, welcome them! Send an automated email welcome series that may include up to five emails:

  1. First email: Deliver more resources and build trust as well as set expectations for what they can expect to receive from you in the coming days. If you serve people in your emails, they will like opening them. Include many resources, such as surveys, articles and quizzes. Always test all links before sending to be sure they’re working properly!

  2. Second email: Introduce a specific person (name identified as email marketer or replies to emails) and their connection to your organization. Invite the subscriber to share about themselves as well by building a bridge to connection.

  3. Third email: Share more helpful content regarding the problem or question you addressed in your resources. Reinforce trust and connection by letting your subscribers know you are here for them!

  4. Fourth email: Ask a question or ask for a reply. Let your subscribers know you want to engage with them. Everyone wants to know there’s a real person on the other end!

  5. Fifth email: Tell your story. Connect how you serve your constituents and fulfill your mission. Give them a small taste of what you’re doing on a big scale, through your work!

At the end of this series, invite them to take the next step with a call to action to donate so you can share the resources that helped them with others.


When sending email, use a ratio of 4:1: Four out of five emails should add value, serve, encourage, or inspire your subscribers while only one out of five should ask them to do something for your organization.

READ NEXT: How to Create Breakthrough Communications on a Budget

4. Promote Relationships and Grow Your Numbers

There are many ways to promote relationships and thus, grow your number of donors and audience each month. One way is through Google Ad Grants that provide eligible nonprofits with $10,000 per month in free Google Ads. This way of promoting relationships keeps information flowing but does not require a lot of ongoing effort from you. This strategy allows you to target your potential audience based on people who are already searching for a specific topic that is related to your mission and organization.


Now that you’ve got four simple steps to grow your donor and audience base, go forth and start gaining and retaining more donors each month!

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Watch as Chris shares more about each of these steps in our FREE one-hour on-demand webinar!

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Jenna Collins

Jenna Collins was born and raised in Tampa, Florida, and is a college student at Florida State University who is an aspiring nonprofit leader studying nonprofit management.

Headshot of Jenna Collins, a white, female college student with brown hair

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