May 23, 2023  |  Team Bloom

How to Nurture Donor Loyalty During Economic Challenges

Nonprofit and for profit businesses alike are struggling in today’s economic climate, faced with salary cuts, layoffs, and losses of clients and donors. Nonprofits play a critical role in providing essential services and support that directly impact community members; however, many are facing significant financial challenges that impact their ability to do mission-critical work.

So how can nonprofits reach people right now – existing donors, potential donors, and volunteers – in a way that brings them into the fold to nurture long-term relationships? This is where a well-designed donor strategy can make all the difference in increasing donors, volunteers, and revenue streams, focusing on the most effective fundraising methods, and encouraging repeat donations of monetary gifts and time.

What is a Donor Strategy?

First and foremost, it’s important to understand what is meant by a donor strategy. A donor strategy outlines how nonprofit organizations identify, cultivate, and solicit donors and volunteers to support its mission. It involves an integrated approach to building relationships, identifying interests and motivations, and tailoring communications and fundraising efforts to most effectively meet the needs of target audiences while simultaneously carrying out the mission of the organization.

We are hearing from clients and prospects that funding from traditional sources such as government grants and corporate sponsorships are on the decline. Additionally, personal spending is down; we’ve seen this affect both our for profit and nonprofit clients. Individual donors are more cautious about giving in the current economic landscape, as they face their own financial challenges. Within this gap lies the opportunity to think differently about how to reach and engage donors in a way that will support nonprofit work long-term. 

Elements of a Donor Strategy: Engagement, Recruitment, and Impact

Donor Relations 

Donor relations is crucial to building strong relationships with individuals and organizations who contribute to a nonprofit’s cause through financial donations, volunteer work, or other forms of support. In today’s tough economy, donors may have concerns about how their contributions will be utilized and whether their support will have a meaningful impact. The nonprofit industry is also heavily saturated, with donors being more cautious about the number of nonprofits they support, making it crucial for organizations to stand out in today’s competitive landscape. Nonprofits should address these concerns by maintaining open lines of communication, providing regular updates on activities, and demonstrating responsible financial stewardship, including sharing impact stories

For example, saying you built a well in Africa is different from saying you provided water for an entire community which led to its children being educated and hundreds more gaining access to lifesaving healthcare. People want to know their time and money is making a difference. Remember, there’s a reason why donors initially say, “yes” to supporting a nonprofit organization or cause. They may have a personal connection through life experiences or interests – or feel a sense of responsibility to address societal issues through philanthropic support. Either way, we want to ensure they become repeat, loyal donors versus one-time supporters.

Donors appreciate updates, photos, videos, and statistics that demonstrate how their money is being used. It’s critical that nonprofits stay connected with donors, express gratitude, and provide opportunities for involvement to ensure those already involved with the organization continue to give back. 


Nonprofits should aim to diversify their funding sources, seeking support from a range of donors including individuals, foundations, and corporations. By diversifying funding sources, nonprofits can reduce their reliance on any one donor or funding stream. This can help to ensure that the organization can continue its work even if one source of funding dries up.

This strategy also applies to volunteer solicitation. While people may not have the means to make a financial contribution, many are looking for meaningful ways to make an impact in their local communities (and the world!). Tailor volunteer recruitment efforts to reach a wide range of individuals. Consider utilizing multiple channels such as online platforms, social media, community organizations (including local high schools), and local events like Farmers’ Markets. Highlight the benefits of volunteering and quantify the impact. Casting a wide net in recruitment efforts helps develop a supporter base through volunteering that can later be turned into monetary support if/when people feel more equipped to give financially. And remember, it never hurts to ask.

Creative Campaigns

Nonprofits should also consider creative fundraising strategies to reach new donors. For example, consider hosting a benefit concert, launching a social media campaign challenge, or seeking support from nontraditional sources such as crowdfunding platforms. By thinking outside the box, nonprofits can find new ways to connect with donors and raise much-needed funds.

Lastly, it’s important to leverage already planned/annual events to the fullest. For example, highlight key sponsorships and request cross-promotion of events. Engage with influencers for event promotion or if there’s famous talent that has been secured for the event, capitalize on their strong fan base to create awareness and drive interest from other individuals and corporate partners – like Bloom did with Diana Ross’s appearance at the Austin Child Guidance Center benefit concert last year.

As always, it’s important for nonprofits to be transparent about their finances and use donations effectively to achieve their mission. With a strong donor strategy in place, nonprofit organizations can weather economic challenges and continue to make a positive impact on their communities for years to come.

Topics covered in this insight: nonprofit, donors, fundraising, donor relations

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