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5 Ways to Reach New Donors Online

Author: Tatiana Morand
April 22, 2020
🕑 6 min read

This post was originally written by Jasmine Marrow, former Director of Nonprofit Strategy at GuideStar and current Director of Partnerships at, and has since been updated.

Online giving: it’s not just a fad.

In fact, every year, it plays a larger part in overall giving.

In 2019, online giving grew 6.8% year over year (and 9.3% over three years), whereas overall giving only grew 1.0 percent.

Online donations also made up 8.7% of all fundraising, according to the 2019 Charitable Giving Report.

These numbers are impressive, but what they don’t express is the many other ways that donors and nonprofits interact online.

Donors use the internet not only to give, but also to discover organizations they would like to support.

A strong online presence is essential to attract donors to your cause, and it’s easier to accomplish than you might think. Here are five tips to help you reach donors online.

1. Make Your Website Work Harder for You

Your website is one of the first places donors will go to get more information about your organization, so make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for.

Try to think of how a first-time visitor would view your website.

Is it easy for them to find your mission statement?

Is your most compelling content the first thing they see?

Most importantly, make sure your website presents the best version of your organization, no matter where donors are viewing it.

Research shows that nearly half of mobile users have “ditched a brand” after a poor mobile experience. A mobile-friendly website and putting your organization’s mission front and center make it easier for donors to learn about and donate to your organization.

A great example is the Pathway to Education website.

pathways to education website mobile


Whether you’re looking at it on mobile or on desktop, it clearly states their message and makes it easy for new donors to donate.

Read More: 15 Nonprofit Website Best Practices You Need to Know in 2020

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2. Reach Donors on Social Media

I’m sure you’ve heard the famous advice: “Meet your audience where they are.”

It rings especially true for donors on social media. More than 450 million people are connected to nonprofit pages on Facebook, and even more through sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Just as you would with your website, make your mission clear and your content compelling across all social media platforms.

A great example of this is the consistency between The Redwood’s Instagram account and their website. Their website is simple and clear, explaining their message in their image headers and using the colours in their logo throughout the website design.

the redwood website


They then use the same colours for their Highlight covers as well as in their posts, and use the same language to make sure supporters coming from one to the next can see how they’re connected.

the redwood instagram


Additionally, you can utilize the fundraising tools that social media offers. Facebook and Instagram now both allow you to add a “Donate” button to your page, posts and stories.

You can also ask your supporters to create fundraisers for your organization. If you’re keeping your social media engaging and providing information about why you need donations, you’ll make it easier for

By keeping your social media engaging and providing necessary information through it, you can encourage donors to learn and give to your organization.

Read More: Social Media Fundraising: 6 Tips to Make It Work for You

Donors guide to recurring banner


3. Ensure Your Information Is up to Date

Many fundraising tools verify nonprofits through aggregation websites. For example, Facebook fundraisers use information from GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles to let donors learn more about the organizations they are donating to. GuideStar allows you to update your organization’s profile in one place. You can check the status of your profile online and update it to make sure that donors are getting the most accurate information from any website that uses this data.

You should also be updating your website regularly with any additional team members, events, or programs that you’re running. This will help potential donors see the impact of what you’re working on, and will showcase the effect you’re having on the community to garner more support.

A great way to do so is by having a blog that showcases your successes and initiatives, just like this post from the Toronto Cat Rescue does:

toronto cat rescue blog

4. Crowdsource Stories and Donations

Crowdsourcing is a way to engage with the community for one common goal. Nonprofits are able to harness the power of many individuals  to increase awareness, gain new donors or volunteers, or gather information on a much larger scale than relying on a few contributors., for example, uses crowdsourcing to gather petition signatures and raise awareness around social issues.

You can also source stories from your audience. For example, Girls Who Code has a series called In Her Words on their blog that highlights different beneficiaries of their programs and describes their impact in their own voice.

girls who code blog

As online audiences have increased with social media and new technologies, the power and popularity of crowdsourcing has also grown.

Whether your organization intends to use crowdsourcing to pool knowledge or to raise money (crowdfunding), there are many online resources you can take advantage of to utilize the power and influence of a crowd or community.

Read More: 15 Brilliant Ways to Grow Your Nonprofit with Word of Mouth Marketing

5. Find Your Unique Online Voice

The vast amount of information on the internet gives donors a new kind of freedom in choosing organizations to support. Never before has it been so easy for donors to find so much information about an organization in such a short amount of time. With one simple search and in a matter of seconds, donors can find your website, your social media page, news coverage, and multiple third-party aggregation websites with information about your organization.

With so much online material about your organization, it might seem futile to contribute your organization’s own voice to the conversation. In reality, it’s essential that your organization find its unique online voice and share it across all platforms with all potential donors — particularly if you’re focusing on major donor outreach.

This unique voice, whether it’s expressed in blog posts or social media pages, adds a personal touch to everything your organization says and does and allows potential donors to get a better idea of your culture, work, and mission of your organization.

It also allows you to highlight what exactly makes your organization unique. For example, the Royal Ontario Museum hosts a “Ask ROM Anything” series to allow people to send in questions about their exhibits. This helps them showcase the breadth and wealth of topics that their employees are knowledgeable about, and share why you should donate to preserve everything they’re working on.

ask rom anything

These are just a few of the many ways your organization can reach donors online.

To learn more, including 12 surprising concerns preventing people from donating, you can watch my free webinar “Leverage Your Online Presence to Connect With Current and New Donors.”

Additional Resources:

The Membership Growth Report:

Benchmarks & Insights for Growing Revenue and Constituents

Get the report now!