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How to Find New Donors: Donor Referral Programs

If you are wondering how to find new donors, by proactively seeking referrals from existing donors, nonprofit organizations can significantly broaden their network and increase their visibility. Not only does this strategy have the potential to drive up donations, but it also helps establish valuable partnerships that can advance the nonprofit's mission. However, while the benefits of donor referrals are clear, many nonprofits find it challenging to initiate these conversations with donors. The thought of asking for referrals can be intimidating. But, with the right approach, creating a referral program can become valuable in expanding your organization's reach. Here are some tips on how to ask for referrals from your donors.



Build a Strong Relationship with Your Current Donors

Before asking your donors for referrals, it is essential to establish a strong relationship with them. Take the time to get to know them and understand their motivations for supporting your cause. Engage with them through personalized communications and offer opportunities for them to get involved beyond just donating money. Donors are likelier to recommend it to others when they feel valued and invested in your organization.


Make the Ask

Once you have established a relationship with your donors, it's time to ask for referrals. Make sure your ask is clear and concise. Explain that you want to expand your donor base and ask if they know anyone who may be interested in supporting your organization. Be specific about the type of person you are looking for, such as individuals who are passionate about your cause or have a history of supporting similar organizations. You can also mention that you want to connect with businesses or organizations that might be interested in supporting your cause.


Provide Resources

Donors may not always feel comfortable giving out the contact information of their friends and colleagues. To make it easier, provide resources they can share with potential donors. This could be a brochure or pamphlet that explains your organization's mission and impact, a video that showcases your work, or a website that provides information on how to get involved. By providing these resources, you give your donors something tangible to share with others, making it easier for them to make referrals.


Host a Friendraiser

The goal of a friendrasier event is to provide a space for potential donors to learn more about your organization, meet other supporters, and get involved in your cause. Encourage your most loyal and engaged donors to bring friends and family who might be interested in supporting your cause. Hosting a friendraiser can create a more relaxed and engaging atmosphere that encourages your supporters to bring their friends and family to learn more about your cause. Ensure you have materials on hand, such as brochures, videos, and testimonials, to share with potential donors.


Follow Up

Don't forget to follow up with your donors after they have made a referral. Thank them for their recommendation and let them know you contacted the person they referred. If the referral leads to a donation or partnership, tell your donor how their guidance made a difference. This helps to strengthen your relationship with your donor and encourages them to make additional referrals in the future.


Show Gratitude

Finally, showing gratitude to your donors for their support and referrals is essential. Whether or not a referral leads to a donation, thank your donors for their effort and support. Consider sending a handwritten note, making a phone call, or offering a small token of appreciation. Showing gratitude reinforces your relationship with your donors and encourages them to continue to support your organization.


Asking donors for referrals effectively allows nonprofits to expand their reach and tap into new networks. By building solid relationships with your donors, making a clear and concise ask, providing resources, following up, and showing gratitude, you can increase your donor base and raise more money for your cause. Remember, your donors are your best advocates. Asking them for referrals can leverage their networks to make a more significant impact on yours.


Check out our YouTube video on How to find new donors with a donor referral program!



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