5 Ways to Get Donors and Prospects Involved in Your Mission


Perhaps you’ve heard that you should engage donors in your mission. Do you know why?

The 2014 U.S. Trust Study of High-Net-Worth Philanthropy found that wealthy donors who volunteered for a nonprofit organization gave a whopping 73% more on average than those who did not volunteer. 73%!!

Could you use 73% more money?!

 When donors volunteer or otherwise engage with your mission they both see the needs you meet first hand and see the good ways you use their money to help people overcome that need. Win-win for you and them.

How might you engage donors or prospective donors?

Try these five suggestions ... or come up with your own based on your needs and your mission.

  1. Ask them to volunteer for you. Simple enough. They can read to your children, prepare and feed meals, counsel your clients, sort and distribute clothes, play an instrument, direct a play. Depending on your mission, you have endless possibilities.

  2. Ask them to help with program administration. Not everyone has a mission that allows for hands on volunteering. Perhaps you need expertise or have a particularly vulnerable population. For example, I don’t want a volunteer - even a well-meaning one - providing medical care in a free clinic and no one wants to hear me play an instrument! But nearly anyone can stuff envelopes, greet visitors, update your databases, run your concessions, write your newsletter. Where do you need help that a volunteer can provide?

  3. Ask them to serve on a committee. Have a fundraising event? Ask them to help plan it. Need financial expertise? Ask them to serve on the finance committee. In addition to getting them more involved in your mission, you can also “test” their dedication as a potential board member.

  4. Ask their advice. Have a donor without time to serve on a committee? Take them to coffee or lunch and ask for their opinion about something in their area of expertise. People love it when others ask for their opinion or advice. So ask! And before you leave, ask them if you can call them again... and do so!

  5. Ask them to serve on your board. This gets them very involved in planning the future of your organization. And when they help plan it, they will have a vested interest to help make it succeed (read $$!)

Not sure the best way to engage a donor or prospective donor? Ask him or her! When you can match a person’s passion with your needs, you have a match made in heaven.

What other ways have you engaged your donors in your mission?