5 Things to Know About Prospective and Current Donors

by | Jul 23, 2019 | Development/Fundraising

“Fundraising” can be a daunting task for both new and experienced development professional because “one size truly does not fit all.”

Today we want to tackle two key areas of donor development:

  • General giving trends in prospective and current donors
  • Specific trends among your current donors.

“It’s all about RELATIONSHIPS!”

You have heard that phrase a million times. It makes sense and should not be so difficult to generate dollars in a world that continues to shrink thanks to advanced technology and social media platforms!

Facebook allows donors to “friend” and “follow” your organization, engage in posts through convenient emojis and comments, and even contribute to your crowdfunding campaigns.

How has technology and cultural shifts impacted prospective and current donors giving in the nonprofit world?

According to the 2018 Global Trends in Giving Report, “overall charitable giving grew 4.1% over the past year and is now in its 6th consecutive year of growth. This is fantastic news for nonprofits who are actively working to increase their donor base and dollars!

It’s also important to note the following giving trends highlighted in the 2018 Global Trends in Giving Report: The average donor in the United States is 64 years old and makes 2 charitable gifts a year.

When it comes to prospective and current donors, Females are more likely to make a donation because of social media marketing, while male donors are more likely to give because of email messages.

67% of worldwide donors also choose to volunteer locally in their communities, and 56% regularly attend fundraising events.

Online giving grew by 12.1% over the past year.

Generational differences between prospective and current donors can have considerable impact. It’s no surprise that Baby Boomers, Gen X Donors, and Millennials differ in both their engagement and giving preferences. The good news is that nearly 55% of all three of these generations noted that they are comfortable with and prefer to make charitable contributions online!

While 33% of Baby Boomers indicate that they are most inspired to give through email communications, nearly 39% of Millennials and 33% of Gen Xers are more inspired to give by social media interactions.

These current statistics highlight how important it is for nonprofit organizations to focus on strategic messaging and develop an effective online presence to educate, engage, and inspire support for one’s mission.

That being said, no emoji, tweet, poll, or online comment outweighs personal interaction with your donors.
Every organization should create a realistic development plan to guide fundraising efforts, and a key portion of that plan should focus on donor development.

Donor development implies that you are building relationships and engaging individuals in your mission. Once you secure a donor, it is important to retain them. A sincere and direct conversation focused on the five talking points below will go a long way in achieving your annual goals!

Get to Know Your Donors: Top 5 Questions


  • How did you first get introduced to our organization?
  • What inspired/s you to contribute to our mission/organization? (Could be WHO?)
  • How would you like us to engage you with our mission/organization?
  • What is your preferred method of communication?
    Do you have any feedback/suggestions that you would like us to share with our team so that we can continue to improve our programs?


As you continue to cultivate individual relationships, these donors are going to be more inspired to engage at higher levels and introduce your organization to others in their circle.

A personal reference from a satisfied donor goes a long way in building your donor base. Never underestimate the power of a genuine conversation, whether it be over the phone or over a cup of coffee!

For more information on growing your donor base, check out our free 20-part video series on our YouTube Channel called How To Grow Your Donor Base in 20 Days. Access Playlist Here.

If we can help with Grant Writing and Research Support or Program Design Services, let us know. Maybe you just want a few hours of consultation with one of our nonprofit experts – we can help. You may also find some Upcoming Events to attend or helpful information in our Free Stuff section. As always, Keep Growing for Good!

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