Click to go back

Downes Murray International News

The best place to find new donor prospects

New donors are the lifeblood of any organisation. Joe Garecht shares some advice  on where to find prospective supporters.

There are lots of ways to find new fundraising prospects for your organisation. In my experience the best way to find new prospects, though, is by seeking out referrals from your current donors, volunteers, board members, staff members and other supporters.

Good salespeople are constantly asking their current customers and others in their network for referrals . . . introductions to people that might also want to buy the product or service the salesman is selling.  You’d be surprised at just how often current customers will refer new customers to their salesperson.  In fact, in many businesses (such as real estate and insurance), referrals can make up a majority of a salesperson’s new business each year.

Guess what? Referrals work well for non-profits, too. Great fundraising organisations are constantly asking current donors and supporters for introductions to new people who might be interested in supporting the organisation. When was the last time you asked your donors for referrals?

The second best place to find new donor prospects

Of course, referrals aren’t the only great way to find new prospects. Another tactic that works extremely well for non-profits of all sizes is to hold "non-ask" events.

A non-ask event is an event, held by your non-profit, that targets donors and prospects, but does not include any fundraising ask or cost of admission for attendees. Non-ask events are sometimes called "Introductory Events," or "Point of Entry Events." The goal of these events is to introduce new prospects to your organisation without asking for money.

For non-ask events, the fortune is in the follow-up.

Once a prospect attends an event (your event can be as simple as a tour of your office, or as fancy as a cocktail party at a local restaurant) your staff can follow-up with them, cultivate them, and walk them down the donor funnel until they are ready for an ask.


Like most modern websites, places small files called 'cookies' on your computer to make your browsing experience as pleasant as possible. By entering this site you accept our Privacy Policy and Cookies Notice

If you’d prefer us not to use cookies, then please turn them off.

Close window and proceed to