The experts in
not for profit

Do you know your donor?

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The Australian Giving Report from 2019 found that 68% of Australians had donated to a not for profit (NFP) organisation in the past year. This statistic is impressive. It indicates that our nation has many caring individuals who want to help make a difference, both within Australia and around the globe.

But if you are an NFP that receives donor funding… how well do you actually know your donor? Do you have an understanding of who your supporters are? How much do you really know about their motivations?

Today we take a look at what is involved in creating a donor profile and how it can benefit your nonprofit organisation.

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What is a donor profile?

You might have heard the term ‘avatar’ or ‘persona’ used in the commercial world, where a company is trying to create an ideal customer profile. Well, the same is applicable when it comes to your donors.

A donor profile is an outline of the demographics and characteristics attributed to someone who donates to your NFP. Utilising the information you have about your existing donors can help you build a picture of who they are… diving deep into their traits and identifying their motivators. When you recognise commonalities, you can develop a better understanding of why they choose to give to your organisation.

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Key elements of a profile

Demographics are a standard inclusion in a profile and cover information such as gender, age, address location, employment and income levels, whether they rent or own their property, typical payment method, regular leisure activities and other donation habits.

Every layer of information helps you to build a picture of your archetypal donor. For example – she might be a 57 year old female, living in her own home with her husband, in a suburb that responds well to door-knock appeals.

She works part-time and has historically made donations via credit card. She is interested in medical research and environmental issues, supporting two other NFPs on a regular basis.

The additional insights into her interests and donation style can help you determine whether she is likely to respond to an upcoming campaign.

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Gathering the information

Your current donor database is the perfect place to start gathering information. If you have a system that holds a significant amount of data about your donors, then you are already off to a great start. But even if you only have simple information such as name, contact details and donation amount, you can still start to build your profile.

You could consider surveying your existing supporters to gain more insights. Along with extracting more demographics, it is a great opportunity to ask questions about why they chose to donate to you, if they donate to any other organisations and their preferred method of donation. Every additional detail you can gather will provide you with a greater level of understanding.

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How does the information help?

Once you have been able to build a donor profile, the next step is to apply the knowledge you have gained. The most obvious application is to help you identify new potential donors… people who fit the profile of your current supporters. From there you could consider various targeting methods to try and secure them as new donors.

You could also create a profile for your highest value donor and review your existing supporters to find possible matches. If they already donate to your not for profit, you might find they are open to the idea of boosting their donation amount or frequency. It’s always worthwhile reaching out to your existing donors as they already have a relationship with you.

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Maintaining relationships

Taking the time to get to know and understand the people who support your organisation is a worthwhile endeavour. By building sincere relationships, you can help maintain donor longevity.

We hope that our tips for creating a donor profile provide you some useful guidance and we look forward to working closely with you for your NFP accounting needs. Find out more about our not for profit accounting services or read other not for profit sector articles.

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