How are you going to increase the number of donors this year?

Expanding your donor base should be an integral part of your fundraising efforts.

There are many ways to find new donors.

  • Call on your Board members to help.
  • Look to your current donors and use peer-to-peer fundraising.
  • Use your online presence (this is always stressed as a donor acquisition strategy and it’s inexpensive!).
  • Purchase some mailing lists of people with potential affinity for your organization and do a direct mail targeted at acquiring new donors.
  • Have some small events—luncheons, cocktail hour, coffee time—and ask your current donors to invite a friend to hear about the work of you nonprofit with the hope they will become a new donor.

Your approach to donor acquisition should be strategic and planned.

  • Incorporate donor acquisition plans and activities into your Fundraising Plan.
  • Develop measurable and achievable goals.
  • Don’t put all your eggs into one donor acquisition basket!

Use several different strategies. Growing your donor base is a critical part of sustaining your nonprofit organization. Make sure it is an ongoing part of your development efforts.

Mailing Lists

A popular donor acquisition strategy is purchasing mailing lists of people who may have an affinity for the work of your nonprofit.


  • I purchased a list of people who subscribed to arts magazines to acquire new donors when raising money for a United Arts Fund.
  • People who receive mail order pet food, animal magazines, etc may be idea donors for organizations providing services for animals and pet owners,

How It Works

I purchased lists through a business owner who ran a mailing and fulfillment house, including print and electronic services. He donated some services to us each year, one of which was the list purchase. A mailing specifically to that list did generate new donors (and at a low per donor cost). Try to work with an expert in the field (fulfillment houses, for example) to assist with your exploration of lists for donor acquisition mailings.

Additional Resources

Look at these online resources relating to donor acquisition. There’s a variety of strategies and activities aimed at finding new donors.

Give Gab blog

The Fundraising Coach says, “It’s not rocket science!”

Fundraiser Help offers donor acquisition strategies