Converting Your Best Donor Prospects

As the effectiveness of direct mail acquisition wanes, it is more imperative than ever to take advantage of the rich population of non-donors your organization has on file and look to convert them to active donors. It is very likely you already have a plan in place to do so and if not, I’d encourage you to begin to develop a strategy today.

Why It’s Important

Whether you are actively purchasing acquisition lists or not, your non-donors should be looked at as your best acquisition group, because they will convert better and give more on average than a lookalike modeled list.

Your current group of non-donors are likely volunteers, advocates or eNewsletter subscribers, that already care about your cause and while not supporting you financially, care about the mission. This right there crosses off a big barrier in successful acquisition. They know who you are and care about you!

Secondarily, you already have their contact info, and a history of the channels they have engaged through, which only increases the likelihood of converting non-donors into active ones.

Ways to Do It

The first thing to consider when crafting a strategy is that these individuals are important to your mission and should be spoken to the same way your donors are.  This means thanking them for their past support. And much like your donors, you should try to understand why they care about you, so you can tailor your communications to their interests in your mission.

It’s also important to recognize that some non-donors will never become donors but will remain good advocates and should be given the opportunity to provide you feedback, through surveys and interviews.  You also want to give them the opportunity to share their thoughts about you through social media platforms, because while they may not give, their promotion of your mission may lead to others in their networks to do so.

Let’s not overlook the most important part of converting non-donors, you need to ASK them for a gift from time to time. While overseeing direct marketing at a former employer, we presented a gift matching opportunity that was highly successful in converting volunteers into donors.  You can also include asks at non-donor events without fear of offending supporters. Lastly, if you understand what the interests are of your non-donors, align that with an ask so they see the benefit of not only giving their time, but also their financial support.


As with most fundraising efforts, data plays a key role in your success, and converting your supporters into donors is no exception. If not already being done, track all of your interactions with your non-donors on your CRM (e.g. dates and times volunteered, survey responses, areas of interest, events attended, etc…) to make informed decisions on who your best prospects are to ask for a gift. If you’re running wealth screens on your donor file, consider doing the same with your non-donor file. The combination of capacity, plus recent engagement and interest are great indicators for donors and non-donors alike and will help inform a well thought out strategy of converting volunteers, advocates and supporters into your next donors.


At Causemo, our Insights platform allows users to quickly understand who their constituents are, what they care about and the channels they prefer to give through, to efficiently and effectively raise more money for their cause.

Authored by Causemo's Ryan Carpenter:

Ryan Carpenter is the Director of Customer Data Analytics for Causemo, providing strategic guidance and support for our nonprofit partners. He has been in the nonprofit world for many years, previously leading the Engagement & Stewardship team for Year Up, as well as managing Donor Advancement Programs for three of the nation’s leading nonprofits (Feeding America, Wounded Warrior Project and CARE).

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