8 Over-Looked Donor Prospects Hidden In Your Database, Just Waiting to Give More

Guest post by Steven Shattuck of Bloomerang News, Stories


Republished with permission

There’s little argument that long-term, loyal donors are your best prospects for things like major gifts and planned gifts.

Monthly donors, active volunteers, current and former service recipients, and the securely retired (especially the childless and empty-nesters) are also great prospects.

But who else might be lurking in your donor database that doesn’t necessarily scream “I could give you $1 million!” but are still constituents who you should keep your eye on, and definitely try to retain?

Here are eight types of donors or engagement signals from donors that you might be overlooking:

1. Donors who give you updated contact info (unprompted)

If someone lets you know that they are moving or have a new address, highlight these people because they really like you and want to keep receiving information!

2. Donors who complain or offer critical feedback

Data from TargetAnalytics shows that donors who complain are retained at higher rates that donors who don’t complain, with even higher retention rates among those whose complaints you resolve. Engaged donors provide feedback because they’re invested in your organization!

3. Donors who submit matching gifts from their employer

They care enough to double the impact of their donation by going through the trouble of submitting a matching gift request. They and their co-workers could be volunteer prospects as well!

4. Adult children (especially daughters) of parents who give

According to the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, they are highly likely to also support you. Unless they they’ve totally rebelled against their parents (as some are wont to do), 18 years under the same roof has likely indoctrinated them into believing in your cause.

5. Surviving relatives of deceased, long-time donors

Investing in a Deceased Suppression Processing data service can uncover lapsed donors that passed away, giving you an opportunity to send condolences and words of appreciation to surviving household members. Who knows? Maybe they will continue the legacy.

6. Donors who just had their first child

What are they doing? Probably putting together their first will! Sure, a growing family is going to cut into their financial capacity, but bequest marketing could hit the mark with this segment and set you up for legacy giving further down the road.

7. Out-of-town donors

Let’s say you’re a hyper-local nonprofit, like an environmental agency or a school and you suddenly get a large donation from someone who lives 10 states away. It may serve you well to be curious about that donor. Perhaps they are a former service recipient, or someone with a past connection to your community. There is a reason they’re donating to you; ask them!

8. Contact person at a for-profit business who organizes a volunteer outing

This person is an advocate and likes you enough to ask their co-workers to volunteer. Take care of this person so that they keep supporting you financially and non-financially!


If you have any of these eight types of constituents, pat yourself on the back! You’ve obviously done something right to keep them engaged.

If they aren’t already donating monthly, make it a priority to move them into a monthly commitment. Monthly donors have sky-high donor retention rates, and are 7x more likely to leave you a bequest.

A monthly commitment combined with the engagement they’re already exhibiting will set you up for exciting future possibilities and a high lifetime value.

Steven Shattuck

is Chief Engagement Officer at Bloomerang and Executive Director of Launch Cause. A prolific writer and speaker, Steven is a contributor to “Fundraising Principles and Practice: Second Edition” and volunteers his time on the Project Work Group of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project and is an AFP Center for Fundraising Innovation (CFI) committee member.