Digital Prospecting for Fundraisers

We slashed the cost of acquiring new donors by 77% – Here’s how we did it


Any organization failing to acquire and then cultivate new donors is doomed to fail. 

Every fundraising professional knows this and most organizations see roughly 20% of their donor base disappear each year for a variety of reasons (death, health, changes in finances, losing contact information, failing to cultivate, etc). 

Which is why nonprofits commit so much of their funds to prospecting campaigns. Most of these funds are given to mail pieces that cost a great deal of money, don’t capture as much contact information, and fail to produce leads with a higher Annual Giving Capacity (AGC). 

When Optimize Consulting started fundraising for nonprofits, we discovered high cost prospecting mail campaigns plagued the industry. Which is why we created solutions to cut the cost of acquiring a new donor from $195 to $45 (you can view our case study for 501(C)3 &(4) fundraising here). 

Keys to successful online prospecting:


  • Employ all methods: A combination of texting, Facebook advertising, list rentals, rev shares, list exchanges, Google ads, and email marketing are all essential to generate new donors. It’s important to utilize all of these methods and discover which has the greater return on investment.


  • Diversify list rentals and rev shares: Renting several lists at once will protect your organization from disappointing. The benefit of online prospecting is you can change course if your copy or lists are failing to produce results. Expensive mail campaigns do not provide you with this safety measure.

  • Prospect to the correct audience: The same rule applies to mail – You can have the best copy in the world and a landing page with a powerful historical conversion rate, but if you have the wrong list you won’t capture any new donors.

  • Create a funnel that converts donors, contains an upsell, and recovery message: Our preferred donation processor is Anedot. The key is finding a partner with excellent upselling features proven to convert donors. The landing page should give the donor confidence exactly of knowing who they are contributing to and be easy to complete.

  • Find signers who will generate interest in your organization: If possible, it’s best to find a signer who is willing to lend their name to your organization’s efforts. A signature from a well known figure will pique a donor’s interest and help open their wallet or purse.

  • Urgency: Creating urgency is an essential element of all fundraising but authenticity is a must.



In order to generate lasting results, receive a second donation, or ask for a transformational gift, it’s best to provide the donor with as much information about your organization as you can. 

You will have a much easier time thanking the donor on the phone and upgrading the supporter if they fully understand your value proposition. 

Our online prospecting hinges upon working with an organization’s development department to cultivate these new leads, identify their AGC, and ultimately upgrade them to bigger donors. This method helps us run profitable prospecting campaigns for our clients. 

If your current prospecting efforts are falling flat, or you need assistance building an online prospecting campaign, please contact us and we would be happy to help! 

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