Lessons from Raising $250+ Million

Online Fundraising Design Tips from Aki Braun

Aki Braun is amazing.

Dubbed a ‘Dream Developer’, she’s a true online fundraising genius and has been the feminist/activist/technologist behind some of the most successful online fundraising campaigns ever.

And she brings to fundraising a set of hard-won insights from the real world that are both technical and practical.

Because after you help raise a quarter of a billion dollars, well….you learn some things. 

I had the chance to chat with Aki recently and had the chance to pick her brain on the most important things non-technical fundraisers should know about online fundraising. 

Fundraising for Obama, Mozilla, and Fight for the Future

Aki has had a very cool career. In a way I’ve seen very few people do so meaningfully, she has applied her technical chops to a number of meaningful causes. And she’s been part of some of the most powerful technical fundraising teams ever. 

First of all, let’s be clear: Aki helped elect Barack Obama president. 

And her fingerprints are on a number of projects from that campaign, from Spanish-language tools, surrogate recruitment sites, and the famously successful Obama online fundraising campaign pages. Some of it is outlined in one of my favorite articles, “When the Nerds Go Marching In”.

Just as cool, the brilliance and success of the Obama campaign tech team helped lead the White House to create the innovative United States Digital Service (USDS), which brought designers and engineers from tech companies into government. (And that crew has gone on to do lots of amazing things - stay tuned!)

Aki took her experience with the Obama campaign team and used it to raise money to protect the rights of all of us on the internet for the powerful advocacy group Fight for the Future. In the course of that work, she helped build and test a number of different donation page versions, honing in on the designs that raise the most money.

And on top of both of those incredible experiences, she’s helped raise millions of dollars for The Mozilla Foundation, an important organization working to keep the internet an open and amazing world.

(Aki helped them they A/B test their way to a $3.19 million end-of-year campaign, nearly double their goal.)

Oh, and she’s also spent time at some of amazing payments companies, like Venmo and Recurly.

Did I mention Aki Braun is amazing?

Let’s take a look at what she’s learned in the course of this amazing work. And, specifically, what you can do to raise more money online.

Online Fundraising Design Tips

Over the course of our conversation, Aki shared 3 online fundraising tips for non-technical folks should recognize. And they’re a breath of fresh air for the sector:

1. “Sequence is Everything” 

One of the biggest online fundraising design mistakes organizations make is to present a donation form with too many fields at once

Mozilla Foundation Donate Page (before): Aki Braun

Mozilla Foundation Donate Page (before): Aki Braun

It’s easy to see that this donation page example is poorly designed, but how do we know what a good one looks like? How do we know how to simplify an overly complex form? 

The first step is to eliminate unnecessary fields. And don’t be gentle about it. If you want to design an effective online donation form, anything that gets in the way of getting a person to donate needs to go. If that’s hard to come to terms with, think about it like this…

“Get everything out of the way and just let people give you money.” - Aki Braun

Mozilla Foundation Date Page (after): Aki Braun

Mozilla Foundation Date Page (after): Aki Braun

Once you eliminate unnecessary fields, one of the best online donation design tips is to sequence the process. Rather than showing a donor every field at once, break the process up into a series of steps. This keeps the donation process from feeling overly complex or burdensome, as a person only has to do a couple things at a time. 

Even better? This is a proven technique. 

Aki has seen sequencing the online donation process increase donation conversion rates time and time again.

And while a lot of organizations are working on a hunch with a small number of online gifts, Aki has seen this fundraising technique work on a massive scale. It’s data-backed and proven!

2. “Page Load Times are Huge!”

In fundraising especially, you are what you measure.

But since most nonprofit executive directors and directors of development are non-technical, too many organizations are overlooking otherwise critical insights, such as online donation page load times.

From a tech perspective like Aki’s though, this is one of the most important variables determining donor conversion rates. 

One of the easiest ways to improve your site speed is to reduce the clutter on the page.

Cut down on the things your page needs to load, such as additional images, unnecessary web apps, and videos. Your tech team can do even more but these are important things all of us can do initially.

Because, as Aki said, “Even a millisecond matters for conversions.”  

3. “Bigger. Bigger. Bigger.”

Better doesn’t have to be complicated, right? One of the things Aki has seen make the biggest impact in online donations is simply making donation buttons, fonts, and fields bigger.

What might seem like a frivolous design choice actually has a lot of psychology behind it.

Paired with an online donation sequence (see: #1 above), making the elements of the donation page bigger increases donor comfort before giving, and conveys simplicity and ease - all of which are critical for getting them to give and helping you raise money for your nonprofit.

Online Fundraising Tips from the Inside

Aki Braun has a level of fundraising experience you might never have. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take the lessons she’s learned from raising money for amazing causes and apply them to your own fundraising efforts. By getting a special peak inside how fundraising works from the tech side, you can look at your own online giving process with new eyes and make the changes that bring in even more money. 

Because at the end of the day, she literally helped elect Barack Obama president.

Looking for insights from another amazing tech fundraiser? Check out this piece on Griffin Johnson’s #GiveProgress, dubbed ‘The Amazon for Giving’.

Build Your Nonprofit Email List by Eliminating Navigation Bar on Landing Pages

All great landing pages have one thing in common: they give you almost no options. 

This might sound odd, but it’s true. 

That’s because the goal of a landing page is to get a person to take a specific action. You want more people to sign up for your nonprofit email list. Or free fundraising course. Or volunteer. Or sign a petition

Whatever it is you want supporters to do, landing pages will help. 

By taking away distractions, you increase the odds people take your desired action. 

Let’s take a look at the landing page I designed for the global social innovation community, Dwilly.

There are many ways to dissect a great nonprofit landing page. From the color scheme to the layout of the text and the headline, every part of a landing page is important. 

We could analyze every detail but for right now, we’re only going to focus on one. 

And that’s because it’s one of the biggest mistakes I see nonprofit marketers making. And it’s one of the easiest to fix!

I see nonprofits writing and designing very compelling landing pages, but overlook one simple thing that’s lowering their conversion rates. 

What is it?

Your nonprofit landing pages should not have navigation bars. 

Source (The New York Times nav bar)

Source (The New York Times nav bar)

Ok, since it might not seem like a big deal, let’s remember why it’s important to have navigation bars (or ‘nav bars’ as they’re called a lot of times). 

Nav bars help your nonprofit website visitors learn more about your organization. They help them find out about programs, your team, your financials, your funders, how to donate, and more. 

Basically, the sole purpose of nav bars is to give visitors options for how to spend their time on your site. They help supporters get familiar with you and are an important part of the donor experience. 

So they are definitely useful. In fact, they are a critical factor to how we all navigate around the web. 

Why take the nav bars off your landing pages then?

Well, if you remember from earlier, we said that the main way landing pages are effective at getting people to take actions is by eliminating all other options. 

Landing pages put all of the focus on supporters doing one thing

That means that nav bars and landing pages are almost diametrically opposed to one another. 

If you want people who land on your nonprofit landing page to take a key action - like joining your email list - then you need to take away all of the other options. 

Get More Online Donations by Offering Less Options

Fundraising is tough because there are so many audiences.

Major funders need to be talked to a certain way. Millennials might be giving to you for a totally different reason. Your board and policy makers might want your nonprofit communications to look and sound a certain way. 

And at the end of the day you have to make sure you’re designing everything just right for each audience. 

This is most pronounced when you’re campaigning for online donations.

Designing Online Giving Page for Nonprofits 

There are many ways to design your online giving page. From using a slider bar to how you sequence the pre-set donation amounts. 

Source (amazing article on designing effective donate pages!)

Source (amazing article on designing effective donate pages!)

Yet one of the biggest mistakes nonprofits make is not designing their donation page at all. 

They simply take what their IT team has thrown together for them and go with that. 

This is a terrible decision for a lot of reasons, but the most important is that even good tech teams rarely understand online giving behavior. It’s like assuming an architect makes an excellent interior designer. Maybe, but not necessarily…

Source (Reminder: an architect is not an interior designer. Just like an IT team is not a fundraising team)

Source (Reminder: an architect is not an interior designer. Just like an IT team is not a fundraising team)

The Best Tip for Getting More Online Donations

What happens a lot of times - a lot more than people at nonprofits realize! - is that supporters will click through an email campaign with the intent to donate. But once they reach the actual online giving page, they won’t make a donation. 

That’s annoying.

Why is this the case?

Because nonprofits are working to attract gifts from so many different audience segments, they often end up offering too many donation amount options. 

This comes from a good place - wanting to offer something for everyone - but it often results in option fatigue. Or in other words, too many options ends up alienating every donor segment. Rather the reverse effect that they’re aiming for, of attracting every donor segment. 

So what can you do?

Well, first of all you want to understand how people are currently giving your nonprofit online donations. What amounts? How frequently? Etc. 

Then you want to take those and begin to look for patterns, so you can group them into 3-4 key gift amount ranges. This helps you see a wide range of gifts as really a reflection of a smaller group of generalizable donor segments. 

The overall goal is to increase online giving by eliminating options

If you make a donor choose from a litany of donation amounts, you’re setting yourself up for them to walk away without making a gift. 

But if you can start to narrow in on aspirational donation amounts for your key segments, you’ll make it easier for your donors to find the amount that works for them, without alienating them. 

And that means something very simple for you: more online donations for your nonprofit!

GET MORE VIEWERS FOR YOUR NONPROFIT'S FACEBOOK LIVE

“We’re live!”

Those words used to only be uttered by the production crews on the evening news, but today anybody - including your nonprofit - can use Facebook Live to stream important events. 

The first time I used it was in a spur-the-moment decision during a protest. And, in fact, organizations like Black Lives Matter have used Facebook Live to tremendous effect.

But nonprofits of all kinds have started using it to bring the outside world into their world, at least for a few moments. So whether you’re using it to share a behind-the-scenes look at your work, live streaming a fundraising training, or livestreaming your gala, there are lots of ways your nonprofit could be using Facebook Live.

Examples of How Nonprofits Use Facebook Live

How your organization uses Facebook Live will depend on a number of factors. Among these are things like….

  • Comfort with social media
  • Meaningful experiences to share (either organically or that you create)
  • Staff resources designated to this content
  • Size and type of your audience
  • And many more!

To give you some ideas, check out these examples of how nonprofits are already using Facebook Live to engage with their supporters…

Autostraddle uses Facebook Live to do a regular Q&A show on all matters of gender and sexuality called “Getting in Bed with Kristin.”

Black Lives Matter uses Facebook Live as a means of accountability during peaceful protests, including during arrests.

The Case Foundation uses Facebook Live to help CEO Jean Case connect directly with those impacted by the Foundation’s work.

All of these organizations are leveraging the unique value of being in people’s Facebook feeds with meaningful and interesting live content. It is the perfect application of the old mantra “Go to where the people are.”

How to Use Facebook Live for Nonprofits

By now, anybody can go Live on Facebook with just a click of a button inside your Facebook app or in the status bar of Facebook on your computer. (The full Facebook explainer article is here). 

What’s harder is making sure when your nonprofit uses Facebook live that you have a strong audience watching you. Nobody wants to be watched Live by just one other person….

Of course, the best way to get a big audience for your livestream is to make sure that you’ve been actively building your Facebook following. Regardless of the number of followers you have, I want to show you one hack your nonprofit can use to get more people ready and waiting for you to go live. 

If you want more people to watch your nonprofit’s Facebook Live video, the best thing you can do is schedule your Facebook Live in advance. 

Facebook live schedule

This gives people an important head’s up in advance and helps prime your donors [hyperlink] to watch you go live. 

That way instead of feeling like you’re talking to an empty room, you can use Facebook Live to connect with your nonprofit’s audience in big numbers. 

The HUGE Benefits of Using a Fundraising Growth Model

There's a reason most development directors only last 18 months.

Raising money is a grind.

 

You inherent a whole organization's way of doing things - which of course includes the not-s0-good strategies of the past - and then you're expected to bring in a bunch of money overnight. Even if you've been with your organization for years, there are always legacy strategies that linger for years after the people behind them have moved on. 

And so you every year you look at your sprawling development program and try to figure out how to get it to move forward. Where to start this year. Where to focus in order to have the biggest benefit. How to tie all of the pieces together in the best way. 

"It's in today's climate  that the growth model is so ideal."

 

 

The central concept in a growth model is the idea of a system with parts that interact with one another. Every piece of your fundraising system is going to have some impact on the rest of the system. And it’s the interplay between parts that’s where success lies. 

 

fundraising growth model

That’s why one of the first things you do when you're improving a development program is tease apart the donor experience into various phases. Each phase can be thought of as a conversion point. And each of these individual pieces can be optimized. You can focus on each one.

"You can make each piece better." 

 

By focusing on improving each part — rather than simply the whole — you can actually raise much more money. And as you're going to see, the data behind why this works so well is pretty amazing!

Here’s why that’s possible: there are many parts to an effective growth model. 

If you simply focus on getting more signups or designing your giving experience better or any other piece, you are leaving the rest of your model to struggle. In other words, the gains from one improvement can be made, but are sort of moderated by ineffective other parts of the system. 

"Key improvements can have an exponential impact." 

 

In other words, there isn’t a single skeleton key to unlocking growth. But a development program that looks at fundraising as a growth model — and makes improvements in each area of that model — can far, far outperform what you’re doing today. 

Let’s look at why this is the case — how this happens. 

We’re going to do a comparison so we can see how the math plays out here. 

We’re going to look at a development program. Then we’ll take that same program and make improvements to it. And then we’ll compare the results.

This one is our baseline...

Successful fundraising
(Remember, these numbers are just for example. If you want to see how powerful a growth model would be by using your organization's numbers, we built a growth calculator spreadsheet you can use.  Check out the growth calculator here).

So looking at the numbers above and doing the math, what do we get?

A total raise of $25,000. 

That's pretty solid based on the audience size, right? 

So now let’s look at how things could play out if an organization was trying to increase the total giving amount by 50%. 

So if we increase the total raise by 50%, that gives us a $37,500 raise.

To raise this, what would the organization need to do? How would you reverse engineer a 50% increase from the initial campaign?

Well, it’s actually not that complicated.

All you need to do is increase any single variable here by 50%. So you could grow your email list by 50%. Or you could increase the percentage who give by 50%. Or you could increase the average gift size by 50%. 

Holding all other things constant, if you increase any one of these variables by 50%, you’ll increase the overall raise by 50%, which is pretty amazing. 

Raise more money

But this still doesn’t go far enough. It’s still not looking at your entire program as a system with parts that play off of one another. 

Here’s the issue: we are still only talking about boosting one lever at a time. 

Each of these stats — each of these conversion points — has the potential to be improved significantly. Too often we think that ‘if only we could get our current donors to give more’ or ‘if only we could find more new donors’ then all of our problems would be solved. 

The trick — and this is the most important thing to realize — is that you need to approach your fundraising in a way that looks at each of these important places and says ‘How else can we maximize this? How else can we improve this? How can we get even more to complete this step?

Fundraising growth model

You don’t want to be thinking of your fundraising generally. Look at each of the key pieces and go deep! Dig into them and make them better.

"There are so many quick and easy improvements most organizations can make."

And here’s why I say that...

I know you're probably thinking that a 50% increase sounds grandiose. But when we say “One way to get that would be to build our audience by 50%” it doesn’t seem so unreasonable anymore.

Because if you really focused on it, of course you could grow your list by 50%. 

Just like you could really work on boosting the average gift size as well. Or getting a higher percentage of people to donate.

But why does this matter so much? Why focus on improving each part? What difference does it actually make in terms of money raised? Well...

Let's dig into the numbers!

The first example raised $25,000. And then in the second, they increased that by 50%, which allowed them to raise $37,500.

In this version, the organization makes a commitment to increase the effectiveness of each conversion point by 50%...

Growth Model (15).png

Rather than look at boosting a single variable, you want to increase multiple pieces simultaneously. That way the benefits from each piece lead to additional benefits at each subsequent conversion point. 

"Increasing each variable at the same results to exponential growth." 

 

So if you can increase the number of people in your audience, and increase your conversion-to-donor percentage, and increase gift size…all of those things stack on top of each other in a remarkable way. 

Plus, it makes actually doing the work easier because you can dig into each area and figure out what it takes to boost it.

"Rather than trying a little fix here and a little fix there, you take each one and maximize its impact." 

 

And then over time, you continue to tweak each of them. You look at them as levers and work on continually improving how well they work. 

So what’s your guess?

How much money this organization would raise if they increase each of these pieces - audience size, giving percentage, and gift amount - by 50%?

The original raise was $25k. The 50% boost was $37,5. 

How much would a growth model raise for this organization?

$84,375 

 

The growth model raised more than 3x the original raise.

And more than 2x the scenario where we increased the overall raise by 50%. 

All by teasing apart the full donor experience and working on optimizing each of the key pieces, in a way that plays each piece off each other in a really valuable, beneficial way. 

This is the kind of power approaching your fundraising through a growth lens gives you. You unpack the pieces, narrow in intensely to make each piece function better, and then watch as those fixes bubble up into a system that raises significantly more money. 

Fundraising amount

10-minute Formula for Boosting Your Email Campaign Open Rate

“What a waste of time!”

- Every fundraiser at some point :)

 

Have you ever sent a well-crafted campaign that nobody reads? 

It’s the worst!

After putting in work to design and write an effective appeal just like you’re supposed to, the reality sets in that out of your huge email list only a tiny fraction are even going to open it?

I don’t want that to ever happen to you again.

I’m going to show you how to boost your email open rates by 33% in less than 10 minutes. 

 

Before we get into how to do it, think about this...

How much more money could you raise if 33% more people opened your appeals?

 

It isn’t less. We know that for sure. 

Because the more people you get to open your emails, the more people who click your Call-to-Action, and the more people who donate money

Let’s make sure your well-crafted emails are being seen by as many supporters as possible, and raising you even more money. Ready?

The 10-minute Email Boost Strategy

The best strategies don’t come out of nowhere.

Sometimes you just have to be looking in the right places in order to find them. It’s whether you do anything with them once you have them that really matters.

I learned about this strategy from Noah Kagan, and immediately put it to use. And…him and I got basically the same results! A 33% increase in email open rates despite trying it on wildly different sized lists.

You are going to see exactly how I did it, so you can use it on your email campaigns right away.

 

First, I have to tell you about my friend Chris Eigner.

Chris is brilliant. He does software development for tech companies and big nonprofits, runs a podcast, and is building a sex education messaging bot in his spare time, among other things.

I talk to him almost every week.

Recently, we decided to have a more formal conversation for his podcast. (It quickly became the most popular episode)

In order to promote it, I sent a quick little email to ~500 people I thought my be interested. 

Here’s the report from that initial email…

Campaign email analytics

 

You can see it had an open rate of 30.4%, which is pretty decent. That kind of an open rate isn’t too difficult to achieve on a small list. 

But what’s amazing is that even with 30.4% opening it initially, this strategy was still able to boost it by more than 33%!

SIDENOTE: At a minimum, you should be beating those “Industry average” open rates that Mailchimp shows you. If not, be sure to start A/B testing your subject lines immediately.

Here’s what to do next…

A couple days after you send your initial campaign your opens will have dropped off considerably. That’s normal :)

Source: Yesware

Source: Yesware

You spent a lot of time crafting that campaign though, so it’d be a huge waste to only use it once when you know the majority of your supporters never got a chance to be moved by it. Right?

So now you need to go back into your email provider (we’re using Mailchimp in this example) and make a copy of your initial campaign…

Email campaign

Once you have a copy of your awesome campaign, go ahead and come up with another great subject line…

Read this next part carefully!

Most of your supporters didn’t open your initial email, but some of them did.

You are going to send a copy of the original with a new subject line only to people who didn’t open the original. 

If you sent this version to everyone, the folks who already saw it will be a little annoyed when they click the new one and see the same old content. But to people who never saw the original (because they didn’t open it), the content will be brand new to them. 

In other words….

"Make sure nobody sees the same email twice."

 

This is important but it isn’t hard. It’s actually super easy!

When you’re selecting the audience you’d like to receive your new version, just use the logic builder to make sure only people who didn’t open the original will receive this one…

Fundraising donor segment.png

Once you do this, you are ready to go! 

Here are my actual results from using this for the email about our podcast interview:

Email campaign success

It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to get your new email all set up. Once you do, you can send it to your unique segment of supporters and kick back while you hopefully watch 33% more people open up your campaign. 

Email boost formula

Even better, you can watch as your new email drives a real increase in how much you raise. 

THE NUDGE FORMULA: The Design Trick that Gets Donors to Give More

Design is the secret weapon of the best fundraisers. 

It is subtle, yet highly effective at getting us to take action without us even realizing it.

From the layout of emails to how we read online, design guides our behavior so that we can navigate the world we’re in more easily. It tells us where to go, what to do, and how to feel. 

In other words, design is powerful.

Think about this.

Your donors’ lives are busier than they’ve ever been. They are juggling a hundred things in their head at once. And their minds are exhausted from making decisions all day long. 

If you want to stay on their good side— while getting them to give bigger gifts — keep reading! 

I’m going to show you how to use a subtle design technique to increase the average gift size you receive from your donors and reduce the mental energy they expend while giving to you.

And it’s so simple you’d be right to be skeptical that it actually works so well. Luckily, it’s backed up by data!

Let’s look at how it works… 

The Old Way of Doing Things

When most donors go through the process of picking an amount to give, they usually reach a screen that looks something like this:

Online donation

 

This is, for all intents and purposes, typical of online donation pages. The amounts are listed in sequential order and we expect donors to give whichever amount they feel is best for them. 

"Just because something is ubiquitous doesn’t mean it’s a good idea." 

 

This list of giving amounts might look fine from a traditional fundraising perspective but, from a design mindset, it has one major flaw: all elements are given equal priority.

In other words, the layout does nothing to guide a person’s behavior, which means that they have to exert extra energy in order to make a decision. 

This is the kind of thing that drives designers crazy. 

Because a donation form design that adds stress and work to a donor’s experience is a design that fails. You are adding an unnecessary burden on them. Not to mention the fact that, in addition to easing their giving experience, you could also be guiding them to donate bigger amounts. 

"Use design to guide supporters to certain giving amounts."

 

So how do we design the giving process better?

What can we do to increase the average gift size and make sure our donors’ have an easy and enjoyable experience? 

Let’s take a look…

Designing for Bigger Gifts

Now that we see the problem with a traditional design of giving amounts, we’re now going to walk through how to design an effective solution. 

As a quick recap, we have two main problems with the original design:

  1. The average gift size is small, since most people choose the lowest amount. 
  2. It doesn’t guide donor behavior, since all giving amounts are displayed with equal prioritization.

We want to make sure our new design solves both issues. 

Guess what? It’s going to!

Take a look at this:

Source: EveryAction

Source: EveryAction

With a really inviting and smart use of color, this donation format highlights the $50 giving level. 

This has a really important effect.

Even though it is subtle, we are instinctively drawn to $50 in a way that if it was the same shade of blue, we wouldn’t be. By highlighting it with green, the organization is privileging this amount in our minds. 

The best part? This leads more people to giving more!

Study after study shows that when you implement a design that guides a person’s behavior in this way, there is a clear uptick in the highlighted option.

They can also combine design and copy to highlight a specific amount...

online donation form

What they’re doing is the exact same thing you can do with your designs — tell people what the right decision is so they don’t have to figure out the answer on their own.

Their overworked brains will appreciate it if you do.

And so will your organization.

A TOOLKIT FOR RETAINING YOUR DONORS

Donor retention is tricky business. 

The numbers of how many donors stop giving after one year are not pretty.

Neither is the data about how much it costs most organizations to capture new donors.

Not to mention the more astounding finding that, on average, organizations are losing more donors every year than they can keep or find. 

I’m sure you’ve felt these challenges firsthand. 

This is exactly why figuring out what works in retention is so important.

"If we can keep your donors longer, the benefits can be exponential." 

 

The purpose of this toolkit is to give you practical strategies for designing an overall donor experience that more successfully retains donors. There is no silver bullet, but by using complementary strategies you can succeed. 

The best part? These strategies require almost no resources.

You just have to be willing to deeply understand your donors and be strategic about how you engage with them at key moments. 

Applied together, these strategies will give you a great system for keeping more of your donors for longer.

PROVIDE IDEAL FIRST EXPERIENCE

We all know that you only get one chance to make a first impression, right?

In fundraising, just like in life, this couldn’t be more true. And the rewards of providing an ideal initial experience are huge. 

There is a large amount of data that shows that the initial experience a person has — whether it is with a person, a product, or an organization — is highly predictive of what their future interactions will look like. 

In order to capture your new supporters in a way that carries long-term fundraising benefits, be sure to design an initial experience that differentiates your organization, builds the relationship, and creates a memorable moment. 

One of the best ways to do this is to ask your donors why they are drawn to your work.

Once you identify the most attractive aspects for people, then you want to design those into the initial experience a person has with your organization. 

Here are a few examples:

  • If you are working on policy and supporters consistently mention how impressed they are impressed by your research, be sure to share your most read white papers as soon as possible. 
  • If you do environmental work and donors are most excited by seeing how your work has renewed certain properties, highlight this for new supporters in the most compelling, visual way you can. 
  • If you are a university and alumni are thrilled to hear about how your students are developing new solutions to major problems, highlight their efforts and create opportunities for them to connect. 

The idea is that each organization has a moment where something really clicks in donors’ minds, and where the connection and commitment to support is solidified. Identify what that is for your organization and make sure people experience it as soon as possible. 

"Retention begins immediately." 

 

And providing a great initial experience is one of the most surefire ways of being successful.

KEEP THEM INFORMED

Ongoing communication is closely related to the marketing concept of staying in front of your audience.

Companies don’t expect that every time you see one of their ads you are going to buy their product. But they do have decades of research into the fact that, for the most part, the more you see their name the more likely you are to buy. 

"Ongoing communications is the most used donor retention strategy." 

 

And for good reason, right? Continuing to provide value to your supporters is an excellent way of keeping them invested in your work.

The thing too many organizations miss here is that relying solely on regular communications is usually only effective for retaining a portion of your donors.

To use it as effectively as possible, pair regular communication with the other retention strategies. 

SIDENOTE: An interesting example of where more visibility isn’t necessarily better was highlighted in Robert Cialdini’s book Presuasion. If viewers saw a certain product too many times on the show Seinfeld, it actually lowered their likelihood of buying that product because they felt that they were being pushed a product. In fact, if they saw the product 3 times, they were actually less likely to buy than someone who saw the product zero times! But generally speaking, the idea of staying in front of your audience holds :)

USE TRANSPARENCY TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS 

Relationships are built on mutual understanding.

We have to know one another to really feel connected. 

Transparency, from a fundraising perspective, means opening up to donors, staff, and funders in a way that lets them in more than other organizations typically do. 

Show your supporters how much work it takes to make an impact.

Talk about how diligently you’ve thought through your approach.

Make connections that only you can.

Nobody spends as much time in your space, tackling your issues, as you do. Your donors want to hear — not just that you’re doing great work — but that you possess a level of insight that is incredibly rare, valuable, and worth supporting. 

Remember This:

"You are sitting on a goldmine of insights that probably 99.9% of people have no idea about."

 

Being transparent about even some of it will allow you to reap all sorts of benefits for your fundraising, with better donor retention being at the top of the list.

FIND WAYS TO INCREASE ENGAGEMENT

Moving a person from prospect to donor is at the core of fundraising. 

And the quicker and more successfully you do this, the stronger your results will be.

One of the initial steps in doing this — which every fundraiser and community builder faces — is to get a sufficient percentage of people to move from being passive to being active

The two most common ways we think of supporters participating is through giving and volunteering. These are both excellent, and typically occur after a person has been engaged with you for some time first. 

"How can you increase a person’s engagement from their very first interaction?"

 

One of the best ways is to simply ask why your supporter connected with you. This creates a comfortable opportunity to build a relationship and subtly get people to actively engage with you. 

Another way to increase new supporter engagement is to encourage them to refer others to your organization.

When attempting this, remember to consider the role of incentives in guiding behavior. In other words, to successfully encourage referrals it is incredibly useful create some type of exclusive content that a supporter unlocks by referring others. 

A good rule of thumb is that the size of the incentive (in terms of its benefit to them) greatly exceeds the size of the ask (like emailing a pre-written note to one friend) then you are likely to see new supporters be actively engaged with your referral program. 

Regardless of which method(s) you use to increase engagement, always remember the strong underlying link between active engagement with your organization and long-term retention as donors. 

If you can get them to engage, you can get them to stay.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

One of the big differentiators between organizations that do and don’t have successful raises is that they approach the timing of their asks in totally different ways. 

Many times, as I’m sure you’ve experienced, organizations drop an ask into our laps out of nowhere. All of a sudden an organization that communicated to you in the year since you gave a gift sends an envelope asking for money. (Why does this keep happening?)

"The best fundraisers do something different." 

 

They look at the ask as a series of steps. It is a sequence rather than a single moment. They lead up to the actual ask by hinting at the future and building urgency. They create intrigue, provide value, and prompt you in advance. 

This process in known as priming

It basically means to get someone ready for some type of action. In your case, that’s getting a person ready to give a gift. Priming entails timing your ask strategically and building it into a sequence of meaningful interactions with your supporters. 

Why does priming matter?

Because it works. 

 

We’re wired to respond better to asks when we’ve been primed by positive interactions beforehand. And for you, the extra effort to send a little communication that primes your people is minimal.

By putting your organization in the donor’s mind before you need them, you increase their likelihood of giving. Not just the one time, but as a retained donor year-after-year.

 

IDEAL POST-GIVING EXPERIENCE

While we talked about the importance of giving your new supporters an ideal initial experience with you once they sign up, there is one other moment you have to diligently design an excellent experience for your supporters: right after they give. 

What do your donors currently receive once they donate to you? 

 

Is it inspiring? Memorable? Useful?

The giving experience does not end once the transaction is completed. You want to plan past the gift to create a moment that cements a positive connection between you and them. 

There are many ways to do this.

You can send them a short, inspiring video about the work that you do tailored specifically to them as a donor.

Or you could have a number of prominent donors record quick little thank you’s.

Or have a small team dedicate part of their time to make quick phone calls to each day’s donors during the main part of a campaign. 

Donor retention does not require constantly providing special things to your donors.

Donor retention is the result of extra effort at precise moments.

 

And there could be no better time to design a little extra into an experience than right after they give to you. 

TO YOUR FUTURE SUCCESS

Guess what? 

Retention is tough work but it is totally doable. 

There is no need to keep thinking about it as a mysterious — and seemingly impossibly complex — endeavor. By being smart about how and when we design in experiences for the explicit purpose of improving retention, we give our organizations the best shot at reaping the very real rewards of increased donor retention. 

Because every time you find new donors, you’ll know they are entering a fundraising system designed for their long-term support. And that’s when the economic benefits compound and your fundraising growth really occurs. 

Feel free to reach out if you have questions: kyle@fundraisinggenius.co

HOW TO CONVERT AND RETAIN MORE DONORS

The best advice I ever received was this: Listen first. Always.

Always ask questions.

Always be learning.

Always, always listen.

I know how daunting the fundraising world is these days. There is so much competition. So much uncertainty. So much pressure. And so many things changing. 

It can make the task at hand overwhelming when you're pulled in so many directions. And one of the first things that tends to go under these conditions is the time to invest in understanding your donors more and more.

We get so focused on doing that we stop making time to listen

I'm going to show you a strategy I use on every project I work on.

It is so simple, yet most likely provides more valuable insights than anything else you can do. And it's one of those things you can setup once and then let it run forever. 

This one little question will give you a real-time pulse on your donors, feedback that will improve your entire fundraising program, and creates an experience capable of boosting your donor retention. 

Here's how to do it...

A SIMPLE 'WHY'

One of the most common things that happens when organizations want to make a concerted effort to better understand their supporters is that they create a survey. And almost always that survey is long, tedious, and boring

Your donor's experience should be memorably good, not bad.

On the organizational side, you’re left with a montage of random data points but without much more insight into who your donors actually are and what they care about. 

This is a big problem. 

And it’s one that we can solve by using curiosity and humility. And one little question. 

"Ask every one of your supporters why they signed up."

 

You might remember receiving an email from me that looked this:

Fundraising Email

In the very first email you send every person who signs up, you want to hear in their own words why they signed up

In a minute, you will see why we use an open-ended question instead of providing a list of checkboxes. First I want you to understand why this question is such a powerful tool for your fundraising efforts. 

This simple little question has the ability to do two major things:

  1. It provides you with insights you can use to tailor your content for effectively drawing in new supporters. In other words, your supporters will actually tell you how to convert donors better. 
  2. A small ask builds relationships with your audience in a way that creates an ideal initial experience and increases their engagement level with you. These are critical steps for retaining your donors. 

Too often we trick ourselves into believing we have a good enough understanding of our audiences. 

"If you aren’t constantly soliciting feedback, you are overlooking insights that could be bringing in more dollars." 

 

And using a single open-ended question like this is useful because it elicits insights that you wouldn’t know to ask about otherwise. And, as you’re going to see, insights about why your supporters are drawn to you often also comes with recommendations about how you can capture even more. 

All you have to do is listen. 

HOW TO USE THE INSIGHTS

If you want to get more of your prospects to give, then it’s best to think of the donor experience as a series of conversion points. 

Each conversion is a step towards getting a person to give to you. 

In order to convert a person — say from a prospect to an active donor — you have to understand what the experience feels like from their perspective

What do they care about?

How do they want to be spoken to?

What are they looking for in supporting you?

Once you know these, you can speak directly to their interests and concerns. Asking each of your new supporters why they support your work gives you these insights in the easiest and most affordable way possible. 

Plus the email with this question can be automatically sent to each person as soon as they sign up. That means you can enjoy one of the main benefits of automation: it saves you a ton of time!

And, amazingly, when you ask people why they are drawn to support you they will also offer you incredibly helpful advice on how you can improve your messaging.

For example, when I learned that people who signed up for my old project Dwilly were more interested in a community of social innovators than the practice of generating new solutions to social problems, I changed the site’s headline from this original one:

Effective copywriting

To this one:

Fundraising messaging

Was it effective? Definitely!

The second version converted people at twice the rate as the original.

And, as you know... 

"More people means more money." 

 

This feedback loop of soliciting insights and improving your messaging makes you better. In essence, it eliminates the guesswork involved in your work for free.

Here’s how you apply it:

  1. Refine the copy that you use on your website to highlight the aspects your donors have expressed interest in.
  2. Where possible, use the language your donors use.
  3. Use the question as a prompt for a light exchange that comfortably welcomes a new supporter to your organization. 
  4. Track donor insights and follow-up with them about changes you made because of their feedback. 

You don’t have to wait until you can afford a consultant’s overpriced study to gain a better understanding of your supporters. By building this feedback loop into your onboarding process, you will have a steady stream of insights to use to convert more people to support your organization’s work.

We’re now going to look at how this little question of why is so valuable for retaining donors as well.

USING 'WHY' TO BOOST RETENTION

Donor retention is abysmal. 

Year after year after year. 

Giving to the nonprofit sector tallies over $350+ billion each year and yet the ability of individual organizations to retain the donors and their funds behind the majority of this outpouring is unsustainable, to say the least.

Even worse, it turns out we actually know very little about how to impact donor retention. Sure, we know nonprofits are losing 103 donors for every 100 they retain or gain. And only 43% of donors give to the same organization two years in a row.

The issue of retention is made even more urgent by findings from The Millennial Impact Project showing that young adults tend to get heavily involved in the organizations they engage with once those organizations capture them. As this generation increasingly accounts for a larger percentage of charitable giving, the payoff of keeping donors longer is going to only increase.

As you know, it can be costly to find new donors. That’s because the majority of the cost outlay is upfront. 

"It takes far less money to keep a donor than to find one."

 

The problem is that most development departments are letting far too many donors slip away and disappear. 

Here’s where our little question of asking new supporters why are you interested in us? comes in. 

There is some really strong data on retention that shows that whether or not you give your audience an ideal initial experience is the strongest predictor of their long-term retention. 

"What do most organizations provide as an initial experience?"

 

The answer is basically nothing. 

When you sign up for most organization’s newsletters, supporters are met with nothing more than a “Please confirm your email address” message and then they start receiving the monthly communications. 

Fundraising tips

This is almost a non-experience. It is forgettable and pointless from the supporter’s perspective. To say it is far from ideal is an understatement. 

Again, think about the experience from your supporter’s perspective and ask how you can provide something more meaningful than what they are used to and expect. 

By asking them why they are interested in your work, you position them as valuable in a way that asks very little of them.

You are also demonstrating an organizational interest in hearing from them and, hopefully, incorporating those insights into how you engage with your supporters. 

It might seem counterintuitive but donors feel more connected to organizations that they help more. One way this plays out, as demonstrated in new findings, is that larger donations correlate strongly with more volunteer hours

"You need to engage your audience as early as possible." 

 

By asking them why at the very beginning of their relationship with you, you are simultaneously building a relationship, gaining insights, and increasing their engagement with your organization. 

It might be a small question, but it checks some very important boxes of donor retention. And with how difficult it is for most organizations to keep their donors over time, it might just be the thing you’re missing. 

ENJOYING THE BENEFITS

One of the most tempting things to do in fundraising is ask for a donation too soon. 

When you’re up-against-the-gun and need to produce results, it is easy to start acting out of urgency instead of confidence. 

The best part about using the why question is that it, in some ways, forces you to adopt a long-term mindset. Yes, you need gifts, but you don’t necessarily need this gift. Instead, what you’re doing is recognizing clearly that you will raise more money over time if you focus on learning more right now. 

A light engagement like this — where you’re framing the supporter as the expert and enabling them to feel valued from the very beginning — is perhaps the most valuable way to build your relationship with them.

It moves them closer to being a donor without them realizing that’s what is happening. And that is the secret of all donor behavior.

I’ve found that after you have around 50 of these brief back-and-forth email exchanges with new supporters, something just clicks. You will start to see brand new patterns emerging and a new, clearer understanding of your audience emerge than ever before.

Finding out what a dynamic, fascinating group of individuals are drawn to your organization’s work is a humbling and beautiful exercise.

The value is something simultaneously tangible and intangible.

You will feel your audience’s pulse.

And that pays huge dividends.

The Ultimate Guide to Finding New Donors

 
 

Kyle Crawford, Founder, Fundraising Genius

 

 

"I know we need more donors. But I don't know where to find them!"

The process of finding new donors these days is fraught with wasted time and ineffective approaches. 

You deserve better!

You deserve better than manually scanning websites and copying and pasting email addresses. You shouldn't have to have your back against the wall, in need of new donors but without a clear way to get them.  

Get ready! Because this guide is massive! 

This is the best way to find new individual donors, foundation support, and corporate partners.

With the help of some free and super affordable tools, plus the exact steps you need to follow, you can find thousands of likely new donors in under an hour

Obviously, almost anybody can find a large quantity of bad prospects, or even a small number of good ones. What you need is a strong list of targeted prospects who will open your email campaigns.

I'm going to show you step-by-step, exactly how to find the contact info for people you want to become your new donors. And it works so well, you'll literally see their email addresses arrive like magic...

Let's Raise More Money!

In this article, I'm going to show you the exact approach I use to find contact info for a large number of people I want to engage with.  You can use it to find 10 new prospects or 10,000. 

As you know, raising more money really comes down three things:

1. Getting bigger gifts from your donors

2. Retaining your donors longer

3. Getting more donors

I am fascinated by the design and psychology of getting bigger gifts from donors, as well as how to improve retention (#s 1 and 2). However, the process you'll learn in this article is  focused almost exclusively on the third one, Getting more donors

The math just makes sense:

If you can find more prospects of the same caliber in less time, you are going to give yourself a huge advantage in terms of raising more money overall. 

And by learning how to be 10x more efficient in finding new donors, you're going to free up more time to focus on improving retention and increasing gift size. 

In other words, this could be a great end of year campaign for you!

Are You Ready? Let's Get Started!

The technique we're covering here is one I learned from the really smart folks at DocSend. In their version of the strategy, you end up having to pay people to actually find the emails you're looking for.

I wanted you to have a better option - so I created it for you! 

Here's the full list of the tools you'll be using to find your new donors: 

You don't need to worry about downloading any of these yet. I'll tell you below when to get each one, as well as show you how to use use them.

I'll be walking you through the exact steps to follow in order find new donors at scale. This will allow you to find better contacts more consistently, in larger quantities and less time, and for basically no cost at all. 

If you're looking to expand your donor base, this is your ultimate guide to finding new donors.

Ready to see what the future of fundraising looks like? 

Step 1: Finding the Basics 

The building block of this whole donor discovery process comes from knowing just two pieces of information:

1. Organizations where your future donors work

2. The website address of each of those organizations

At this stage, you don't even need to know the names of the individuals you're looking to contact yet. Because I'm going to show you a genius way to figure that out in a minute.

As you know, the process of finding new supporters (whether they're individuals, companies, funders, etc.)  is usually a time-consuming process that involves a lot of Googling. Either you or your staff or your interns set out to manually build a list of potential options, and it takes forever and ends up usually being fairly sparse in the end.

I'm going to show you how to do a better job in 99% less time.

The first thing you need to do is get Scraper for Chrome. This is a free tool that allows you to go to a webpage and extract relevant information with a single click. 

NOTE: Because Scraper for Chrome is an extension for the Chrome internet browser, you need to be sure you're using Chrome when you're doing this. 

Rather than having to think of who might support you and then Googling each of their organizations in order to find their websites, you're going to use the Scraper to find them in just seconds.

Here's how to do it:

Find a directory of organizations that reflects the type of donors you'd like to reach out to. As an example, we're using a Chamber of Commerce member directory below. You could just as easily be looking for arts foundations, technology companies, etc.

Once you find a directory you want to use, simply right click one of the links and click on 'Scrape similar' as shown below. 

This will give you a popup window that now has the organization name and website of all of the groups listed on that page. In this example, we now have basic info on 40+ relevant organizations. Depending on the size of the directory you're using, you could have 500+ orgs in the same amount of time. 

Now that the scraper has found the organization name and domain info for you, you want to take it out of the popup window and send it to a Google Spreadsheet. Scraper makes this easy - just click the 'Export to Google Docs' button (as shown below).

Alright, you're off to a great start! You already have a list of promising organizations and their websites. And it's taken you next to no time to do it. And, as I mentioned, this info is going to be super useful since it's the building block of everything else you're going to be doing to find your ideal future donors. 

Ready to start finding them?

Step 2: Finding Your Ideal Donors 

So we've got organizations but what we're really after are the people who will support your work. How do we find the right people to reach out to without resorting to scanning the 'Staff' page of every company website?

In the past (or maybe currently), you might run some searches for the organization name and various titles. Maybe like Vice President or Program Officer or Chief Diversity Officer. Just like with every other process, I'm going to show you a much better way.

I guarantee you've never seen this technique before!

Your first step is to decide which types of positions at the organizations you're looking to connect with make up your ideal future donors. For our example, it's going to be Vice President, Senior Vice President, and Executive Vice President. Of course, you could just as easily search for other types of positions as well. 

Ok, so you need an efficient way to find the types of people at each org that would be most useful for your fundraising purposes. The way we're going to do that is by setting up a number of searches that scan people's LinkedIn profiles.

I'm going to show you two shortcuts for this:

1. A formula called CONCATENATE that will save you a ton of time

2. A service that will run all of the searches for you for only $5

Ok, so open the spreadsheet you have with the organization names and websites in it.

We're going to put the CONCATENATE formula in cell C2. The gist of this formual is that it will combine whichever values you tell it to.

We're using it to create a search through LinkedIn profiles for people working at each organization who hold any of the positions we listed above (or whichever ones you're using for your donors). The reason we're using LinkedIn searches is because it provides the most up-to-date professional info available online, giving you the highest quality results.


To use this for your specific donor search, simply replace the 'XX's in the formula below with the position titles you are searching for:

=CONCATENATE(A2," site:linkedin.com/in/ (XX OR XX OR XX OR XX)")

Once you have the first formula inputted in cell C2, just click that little blue box in the corner of cell C2 and drag the formula down to the bottom of column C.

You effectively now have a collection of searches that you'd like to run. Basically, you're saying, 'Find me these types of people at every one of these organizations'.


 

Wouldn't it be nice to have somebody do the work for you?


Enter a little program called LinkProspector.

It doesn't look like much, but it's going to run all of your searches for you, organize all of the results, and end up saving you a ton of time.

When you sign up, you'll have to buy a minimum of (I believe) $20 worth of credits. You then use the credits to run reports. 1 report = 4 credits. So, in essence, you can find hundreds or even thousands of potential future donors for $5. 

And it's important to remember: these aren't random fundraising prospect leads generated by a robot somewhere. The people you are searching for are the exact people you would have manually searched for anyways. The difference is that you can do it in a fraction of the time.

I'll show you how!

Once you've signed up, you're going to want to run a Report. And it's easiest if you choose 'Custom Report.' 

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 1.02.16 PM.png

Then go back to your spreadsheet and copy all of the values in Column C. You're going to paste these into the research phrases box on Link Prospector like this:

And submit the report. Link Prospector will run all of your searches for you and then email you when your report is ready. You'll go back into Link Prospector and choose Export Paths. This will give you a .csv file to download. 

Upload your .csv file to Google Sheets so you have a spreadsheet that looks like this:

Sample spreadsheet from this DocSend article.

Sample spreadsheet from this DocSend article.

So this is great!

Depending on how many organizations you originally scraped, as well as how many positions you searched for and a few other variables, you should have hundreds or thousands of potential donors listed. These are individuals you would've manually searched for, but instead were able to leverage your skills and some simple tools in order to find the information much faster. 


You're sitting on fundraising gold!


All we need to do now is clean it up a little bit in order to make it truly work for you. 

Get ready, because I'm about to give you the key to turning this list of names and bios into the real, usable emails of your future donors.

Step 3: Cleaning Your Contacts 

At this point, you have a bunch of info but it's still a little overwhelming and messy. And, to be honest, some of the columns on your spreadsheet aren't actually useful to you at all.

So this is where things could get really complicated. This is the point when people decide to quit and just pay other people to take care of the rest of the process for them.

We want you to succeed!

So I'm giving you the custom spreadsheet I built with everything you're going to need already included in it. It's formatted for immediate use, including all of the formulas necessary. Just click the button below to open it up, then make a copy for yourself to use privately.

Once you have the spreadsheet, all that's left to do is copy and paste a few things, run a couple simple add-ons, and you'll be all set!

Before we go on though, I want to lay out what you have and have accomplished so far, and what you're going to need to do next in order to get the contact info for your future donors. 

Here's where we're at:

  • You scraped a directory to create a spreadsheet with Org Names and Websites of your future donors
  • You used a CONCATENATE formula to rapidly develop a bunch of search terms that you input into Link Prospector and produced a huge spreadsheet with the LinkedIn info of your future donors
  • You just downloaded a new spreadsheet that contains a bunch of formulas but none of your prospect info (yet)

Here's what you'll need to do still:

  • Match each person with their current organization
  • Find the website where each person's email should be found
  • Find people's email addresses

So there's really just three more things to do. The first two will happen automatically once you paste some info into your new spreadsheet. And for the last one, we'll use another add-on that'll work like magic. 

Let's keep moving and get you those contacts!!

Go back to your original spreadsheet, the one with the org names and websites you got after using the Scraper. Highlight all of the org names and their websites, and copy.

Now go into the spreadsheet you just downloaded and right click in cell C1. You're going to click to paste -> transpose (as shown below). This changes your vertical list to a horizontal list. 

Now go back to your spreadsheet with all of the info from your Link Prospector report. 

First, hit CTRL-F (or COMMAND-F on Mac) to pull up a FIND window. Click the three dots. What you're going to do now is clean up the Name column. You'll notice that every name is followed by ' | LinkedIn'. Plus, people's names are all in one cell, which we'll fix next. 

First copy and paste this ->   | LinkedIn into the Find box. Leave the Replace With box empty, then click Replace All. 

Great! That should've cleaned up the column so the cells only contain names. Now we just need to split the parts of the full names into separate cells. This allows our email finder to work successfully.

The way we'll split the name cell into separate cells is by using a super easy (and free) add-on called Split Names. Click the link and add it.

Now go back to the spreadsheet you were just working in and Refresh the page. Then click Add-Ons -> Split Names -> Start. This window should pop up:

Click the 'Split' button and watch as the add-on does all the work for you, creating separate columns for each part of a name and populating them appropriately.

Once that's finished, you're going to want to highlight and copy all of the First Names. Then go into the spreadsheet you downloaded up above and paste the first names starting in cell A3. Go back and do the same with the Last Names and paste them starting in B3.

NOTE: Due to formulas and space restrictions, you can copy and paste up to 1,000 names into the custom spreadsheet. If you have more than 1,000, just make a copy of the sheet and repeat the process.

Now go back and do it for the Description column, pasting these beginning in cell E3.

Once you finish pasting the First Names, Last Names, and Descriptions, the spreadsheet is going to need to work for a little while. You'll notice a grey bar in the upper right hand corner showing that the program is 'working.'

This will take a few minutes because basically everything that needs to happen next is automatically happening. Thousands of formulas are running simultaneously in order to get everything cleaned up for you.

While you're waiting, you should see how you can get FREE ACCESS to the complete Fundraising Genius course. Just add your email below and I'll send you the details. (Bonus Points if you try out the game!)

 

 

Alright...since there's so much happening in the spreadsheet, there's actually enough time for you to sign up and for me to tell you what's happening right now in the spreadsheet.

In all of the cells beneath the org names and websites from Column F onward, formulas are checking to see if each organization's name appears in the bio of the person in that row. So if the org name is found in the relevant bio, then the formula returns that organization's website in the cell. 

Then in Column C, we're using the CONCATENATE function again in order to pull the associated website for each person into a single column, because it's going to make our next step much easier. 

When the spreadsheet is done working, most or all of column C should be populated with websites. And that means we're ready for the good stuff!

Step 4: Find Any Email You Want  

Once everything is done running (which you'll know because that grey 'working' bar will go away), you're going to highlight and copy all of the values from columns A-C. Then open the other sheet in the file, at the bottom of your screen, which is labeled Emails. 

In the Emails sheet, right click in cell A2 -> Paste -> Paste Values Only.

Fundraising Email
NOTE: You must paste values only. Because formulas are involved, using a normal paste will not work appropriately here.

You should now have a spreadsheet with all of the names of your prospects, plus the websites of the orgs where they work. I know it took a little bit of work to get here, but this is incredibly powerful!

And it only gets better!

I'm now going to show you the final step where you get the emails of your future donors to basically magically appear :)

I say 'magically' because this step is so easy it's almost baffling. You'll need to get the Email Hunter Add-on. This is an amazing free add-on for Google Sheets that allows you to find emails from your spreadsheet just by knowing the first name, last name, and domain name.  Get the add-on, then refresh the spreadsheet page, just like you did with the Split Names add-on.

Once the page is reloaded, go to Add-Ons -> Email Hunter -> Open. This window will pop up on the right side of your screen:

Delete the 'D' because you're not going to have organization name listed (which is fine because you have the website listed in column C). Then click Find Email Addresses and watch as they begin to magically appear

Two quick side notes about Email Hunter:

1.  The first time you run this, you may have to input your Email Hunter API Key. This is a unique identifier that lets the program work. Just follow their easy directions - this shouldn't take more than a couple minutes and then you'll never have to do it again.
2.  Email Hunter will allow you to return 150 emails for free. If you want to get more, it costs a little money. I recommend upgrading  when you hit your limit because it is well worth the money, but it's definitely up to you. 

You Deserve the Best!

Fundraising is hard

You're facing changing donor needs, new technologies, increased demand for services, and so much more. You're successful but swamped.

I wanted to lay out this entire process for you because it shows you how to build lists of donor prospects at scale. You and your staff have better things to do than search Google for email addresses. You need to be spending your time with donors, not on a laptop for hours.


Spend your time doing your most valuable work. 


You now have a step-by-step guide to expedite your donor search process, giving you more time to build relationships and engage donors in a meaningful way with your organization.

In a world changing so fast, and social impact tied so intimately to your fundraising success, there's no need to settle for slow, dated approaches. 

Hopefully, this guide helps all of us do better work.

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You'll learn both innovative and timeless techniques, and be given everything you need to begin applying them immediately. Plus, we're hooking everyone up with some amazing exclusive invites and discounts. 

If you're looking to raise more money by the end of this year, we'd love to have you. Sign up below for more info. (Plus, you can see if you can win our game!)