How Your Nonprofit Donation Journey is like a Business Customer Journey

By Samantha Plateroti

Nonprofits hold a mission to make an impact by solving social issues, while for-profit businesses tend to focus on solving business problems.

Either way, both nonprofits and for-profits rely on revenue generated to operate. So let’s take a dive into what this looks like as a nonprofit.

What is a donation journey?

You wouldn’t be able to operate your nonprofit without the continuous support of your donors, just as a business wouldn’t be able to stay afloat without customers.

But how do you attract new donors to become an advocate for your nonprofit? 

Let’s start by thinking of your donor journey as the same stages of a customer journey. There are typically five:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Purchase
  4. Retention
  5. Advocacy


However, for nonprofits, it’s more like:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Donation
  4. Repeat donation
  5. Advocacy

See how similar?


Let’s break it down!

Awareness Stage

This is the top of the funnel of your donor journey. Your donors are unaware of your nonprofit and cause, but it’s your job to change that.

There are a few things to consider - who’s your target audience? Are they passionate about your cause? What messaging would be most effective?

For the awareness stage, think of all things marketing (or top of funnel). This will help attract new potential donors and make them aware of your org.


What can you do?

1) Start a blog! Write posts that are relevant to your nonprofit, but will also be relevant to your donors. Think of how you can enlighten the reader.

2) Be active on social media. Think of where your donors are, is it Instagram? Facebook? LinkedIn? Twitter? TikTok? Get in front of them there.

3) SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Ranking on Google doesn't happen overnight, but continuously posting new relevant content on your site (with keywords people might be searching), making sure your site is mobile friendly and getting backlinks from your site to others are a few ways you can help.

The awareness stage is all about making potential donors aware you exist and how you serve the community.


Consideration Stage

With all of your hard top of funnel work, your potential donors are now aware of you. They may have even interacted with an email you’ve sent or your website.

Now what?

How can you make this easy for them?

1) Have a user-friendly website that is easy to navigate

2) Create a CTA or Call to Action to donate. Make it easy and visible for potential donors to know how to support you! 

3) Marketing automation like emails can help you send automatic messaging based on the actions your potential donors are taking on your site, content, etc.

4) Invite to events, webinars, share success stories, anything that will help provide more information to entice your donors to donate

The goal here is to provide more info, but make it really easy for a potential donor to convert into an actual donor.


Donation Stage

With all of your hard top of funnel work, your potential donors are now aware of the purpose and mission of your nonprofit.

With all the resources you’ve gotten in front of them, they’re now considering supporting you by donating.

Now what?

The most important piece here is reminding them why they should help your cause, but also making it easy for them to help.


What can you do?

1) Use a donation platform like Fundraise Up to make the donation process smooth and effortless

2) A lot of nonprofits experience donor drop-off because they have old clunky systems on their site that don’t seem safe or take the donor to a separate website

3) Remind your potential donors the reason behind your mission. Continuously get your content in front of them through email automation or your team’s outreach. This will also help build the relationship with your future donors.

Encourage your donors to follow through with supporting your mission and that their donation will be put to a great cause.


Repeated Donation Stage

You have a new donor! Congrats on getting the support you need!

However, just like a business wants a repeat customer, as a nonprofit repeated donations are key.

Now you have the opportunity to re-engage your donors and continue to have their support.


What can you do?

1) First, thank them for their support!

2) Back to donation platforms… Fundraise Up has the ability to encourage to donate monthly. You always want to give your donors that power.

3) Send newsletters - keep your donors up to date with what’s going on at your nonprofit. Show them how their donations are helping you support your mission. Hint:these emails should be different than the emails you are sending to people who haven’t donated yet

4) Monitor their involvement on your website and social media accounts to personalize your outreach. If you notice they are particularly interested in a specific cause you help with, make sure your outreach represents that.

Donors who donate repeatedly are more likely to advocate for your cause. This is why it’s extremely important to stay engaged with them. That brings us to…

The Advocacy Stage

The hard part is over… or is it? Your donors now feel great for helping a cause they care about. But how do you encourage them to be vocal about their support? 

You have to make it easy for them.

What are some ways you can do this?

1) For your big supporters, message them directly! Don’t be afraid to ask for them to share their support with their friends.

2) Post on social media and share what you’ve been up to. This will compel your supporters to re-share the post!

3)Ask your donors in your outreach to “like” or “follow” your social pages and even share their involvement with your nonprofit


Bottom line: engage your potential donors, engage your current donors and engage your repeated donors. Keep reminding them why you do what you do and why they should care! Keep your content relevant to them and focus on building your relationship.


You started your nonprofit to do something magnificent and make a difference. You’re helping others, so let others help to support you!


If you want to learn more about how to engage your audience, contact us now by filling out your information below!



What are your thoughts? Leave a comment.

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