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How to attract new supporters and convert them to donors

Posted September 8, 2022 by Virginia Davidson

how to attract new donors

In order to grow your donor base, it’s essential that you attract new donors. As Erik Hanberg writes in The Little Book of Gold, “the amount of time it takes to solicit 3,000 people via a mailing is not much different than the time it takes to solicit 1,000 people…it’s not three times the work. In other words, as your database grows, you become more efficient.” And what fundraiser doesn’t want to be more efficient and maximize their work?

While finding new donors isn’t necessarily easy, it may not be as hard as you think, either. Any person who expresses interest in your organization could become important to your organization, whether as a volunteer, donor, or advocate. When you think of it that way, there are probably more prospective donors in your organization’s network than you realize.

Common sources of potential donors

Here are some common ways you may already be tracking potential donors that could be tapped:

  • Past event attendees. Whether it’s from a past event or past volunteering orientation, there may be some sign-in sheets sitting in a pile.
  • Contacts from past outreach events. Has your organization ever had a table at a community outreach event? If so, you’ve probably collected the names of people who wanted to be added to your mailing list.
  • The contact form on your website. If you receive messages via a contact form on your website, or if people write to a general info address, create a system for getting those names into your database. (Tip: If you’re using an LGL form as your contact form, you can map it so that the name data flows into your database).
  • Webinar registrations. If your organization offers online trainings or info sessions, your webinar registrations will contain the name and email addresses of your attendees. You should be able to export this data and can then enter the data into your database manually or via the Flex Importer if you’re using Little Green Light.

How to convert contacts into donors

Collecting names and contact information in those scenarios is a crucial step toward attracting new donors. But it’s just one step. Unless you have a system in place to store that data in a meaningful way (hint: not in a pile of sign-up sheets) and a plan to communicate with those contacts going forward, it’s unlikely that any of them will become supporters of your organization.

If you’re ready to put a system into place so you don’t miss opportunities to convert contacts into donors, Little Green Light can help you manage constituent information. And, when it comes to ongoing communications with those potential supporters, you can use Little Green Light to generate mailings and keep records of those interactions.

Resources to help you get started

To make sure you’re not missing out on new donors, we’re making available two valuable resources that will strip the mystery out of fundraising and, for users of Little Green Light, will supply you with specific, actionable tips to help you get the most out of LGL.

The first resource we want to direct you to is Erik Hanberg’s The Little Book of Gold. Forbes rated it as a Top 12 Must-Read Book For Nonprofit Employees, and it’s packed with practical, real-world fundraising wisdom that really resonates with us.

The second is LGL’s Companion Guide to The Little Book of Gold. Each chapter of Erik’s book covers an essential aspect of fundraising, and in LGL’s companion guide, we’ve written corresponding chapters that show you how you can use Little Green Light to implement Erik’s advice.

How you can access “The Little Book of Gold” and LGL’s Companion Guide

For Little Green Light customers

In 2022, Little Green Light customers can download their FREE digital copy of Erik’s book, The Little Book of Gold, and LGL’s Companion Guide right from within their LGL account. Simply visit the Help page in your account and click the blue “Get free copy” button at the top right of the page.

For Non-LGL customers

Erik Hanberg’s The Little Book of Gold is available at Amazon, the author’s website, and wherever books are sold. LGL’s Companion Guide is available as a free download at


When you have a system in place to manage contact information, the ability to attract new donors becomes easier. Check out Chapter 6 of Erik’s book for great information on finding new contacts and converting them to donors. And, for LGL users, our companion guide will show you how to use LGL’s functionality to implement Erik’s advice.

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