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Digital Donor Acquisition By Lindsey Lind and Carol Patterson

Christian Leadership Alliance

Digital Donor Acquisition – It Matters!

By Lindsey Lind  and Carol Patterson ~

Many nonprofits expect to lose over 60% of their first time donors.

For many of us, this statement is a frightening reality of our role within development. Ultimately, God has everything under His control and it’s through His plan that the dollars come in to sustain the ministry. However, it’s up to us as good stewards of the ministry to find, engage and convert those who have a passion for our cause into new donors.

If you use traditional direct mail acquisition, you don’t have to be told it’s getting harder. Increasing cost, fewer responses, limited resources, more competition and changing technology prompts you to consider what other methods exist to bring in new donors.

Enter Digital Acquisition.

Digital acquisition takes the best practices of traditional direct response work and applies digital tools to connect and build relationships with new donors.

These digital tools like online advertising, landing page optimization, email drip campaigns and social media move someone from having a conversation with your ministry into taking action.

Here are three reasons you should consider digital acquisition:

1)   Audience: Digital channels give you an opportunity to connect with a diverse new audience that may not use a checkbook or respond to traditional direct mail.

2)   Targeting: Digital channels bring targeting to a micro level (including geographic and demographic segments) that allow you to be much more intentional with the audience.

3)   Testing: Digital acquisition allows you to test your non-profit’s messaging, photos, asks, new campaigns, branding, etc. in a very cost effective way. It also allows you to modify the campaign in midstream.

When done well, the online experience is much like sitting across from a new potential donor over a cup of coffee.

Imagine sitting across the table from a new potential donor. You take the opportunity to learn more about them and then share about your ministry. You get to explain how God is transforming someone’s life. You show the potential new donor how they can be a part of this incredible work and why you need them. Once you leave the meeting, you pray that they will support your ministry. Maybe in the next week a check will arrive in the mail. As many of you know, the relationship with that donor has only just begun.

Digital acquisition allows us to take this same one-on-one experience and translate it into effective interactions that more and more donors prefer. Plus, digital communication (videos, photos, social media, emails, etc.) gives us more cost effective ways to update and retain donors online.

Remember the biggest reason people don’t take action isn’t because they’re indifferent or don’t care. Inconvenience is probably the biggest obstacle between someone donating, or just moving on. Digital acquisition makes it easy for a donor to say “yes” by making the giving process simple and creating multiple ways for them to grow deeper in their relationship with you.

A final point: Be Authentic

Digital acquisition is like any other channel of your marketing strategy. It translates your mission and brand into a call to action. The donors you acquire through this process need to fit who you are as a ministry to keep them engaged. Ministry is a partnership between you and your donors to do the work God is calling both of you to do.


Lindsey Lind is the vice president of digital for Oneicity where she helps ministries grow their online giving, engage donors through social media, and use the best online tools to raise funds effectively.

Carol Patterson is a seasoned executive with an extensive background in leading teams in fundraising, marketing, branding and technology. Since 2001, she has been the Vice President of Marketing for Cityteam International.

Join Lindsey at the Outcomes Conference, April 19-21,2016 in Dallas, TX. She will be teaching the workshop: Acquiring Donors Online. You can find it listed in the Internet and technology track for the event.

Christian Leadership


What is Christian Leadership Alliance?

Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.

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