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Unlocking Fundraising Efficiency: Strategies for Nonprofit Success

Unlocking Fundraising Efficiency: Strategies for Nonprofit Success

Chapter Leadership Brief 6.14.24

by Bre Alexander
Content Marketing Manager, Kindsight

If you're responsible for fundraising at your nonprofit, you know how much time, organization, and strategy it takes to raise a dollar. The challenge is real, but, when you're equipped with the right strategies, you can optimize your efforts to find the donors needed to reach your goals.

So, what is fundraising efficiency?

Fundraising efficiency is the total amount a nonprofit spends to raise $1. In technical terms, it's the ratio between contributions and expenses you've incurred to increase these contributions. Digging deeper, it's defined as the ratio between unrestricted gifts and unrestricted expenses  incurred to raise those contributions.

How to increase fundraising efficiency?

Donor Segmentation
Donor segmentation is the cornerstone of effective communications strategies. It enables nonprofits to craft tailored messages without having to write one-on-one letters to each supporter.

Donor segmentation is a vital strategy for nonprofits to personalize their outreach effectively.  Categorizing donors based on their affinity, demographics, actions, size of the gift, donation frequency, interest, and communications preferences allows organizations to tailor their messages and campaigns to resonate more deeply with each group.

Start by prioritizing your donor levels for personalized outreach, focusing on those who consistently contribute significantly. By segmenting donors based on their giving levels, you can engage with them to encourage higher tiers of support.

In addition to donor levels, consider breaking down segments further to address specific needs:

  • New donors: Create a tailored communication approach to establish a strong foundation for your relationship.  First impressions are crucial in building lasting connections.
  • Loyal donors: Cultivate relationships with those who regularly contribute modest gifts by demonstrating the impact of increased support. 
  • Major donors: Forge deeper connections with donors who contribute substantial amounts. Personalized communication tailored to their interests and values enhances engagement and commitment to your cause.

If you're only communicating with your donors when you're asking for donations, they may feel used, which could lead to donor burnout. It's not enough to solicit donations; keeping donors informed about ongoing activities, achievements, and impact through various channels can help keep your donors interested and engaged so they continue to support your mission.

Ensure you're communicating clearly and directly. Regular email updates can inform donors about your activities and successes and, specifically, how their contribution is helping. Calling donors can be a great way to build relationships, especially with your major donors

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Peer-to-peer fundraising involves recruiting other people to fundraise for you through their networks. Campaigns are often associated with an event, such as an "a-thon" or a challenge that the participant funds in return for doing something. Encourage your supporters to create their own campaigns for your organization, leveraging their networks to expand your reach.

To attract enthusiastic, engaged supporters, it's important to understand your target audience and tailor your approach accordingly. Consider factors such as age, interests, income, and demographics to help guide your planning process.

For events that are more physical, like runs or challenges, assess the demographics of the typical participants and their alignment with your mission.

Donor Stewardship
Donor stewardship is the activities you undertake to retain your donors beyond their initial donation. You could describe it as a relationship-building process—the goal is to help donors feel like they know you so that they'll feel comfortable donating to your organization again. You work hard to bring in new donors for your organization—ensure you keep them coming back. Invest in building strong relationships with your donors by stewarding them, keeping them engaged, and demonstrating the impact of their support.

It's key that your organization has a shared understanding of donor stewardship, as there are several potential definitions of what it means and what goes into it. Stewardship is always about providing excellent communication with donors, but what exactly does that look like for you?

For example, here are a few different activities donor stewardship may involve:

  • Acknowledging and thanking donors
  • Communicating with donors with personalized messaging
  • Social media updates and shoutouts
  • Annual reports
  • Gifts
  • Invitations to events

By engaging in these stewardship activities, nonprofits can demonstrate their appreciation for donors, keep them informed and engaged, and ultimately inspire continued support for their mission.

Leverage Fundraising Intelligence
Fundraising Intelligence is "business intelligence" for nonprofits. It's a broad term encompassing data mining, process analysis, performance benchmarking, descriptive analytics, generative AI, CRM, and more. Fundraising Intelligence analyzes important wealth, philanthropic, and biographic data about prospective and current donors and presents easy-to-digest scores and actionable results that inform fundraising decisions and help nonprofits raise more money.

Harnessing Fundraising Intelligence streamlines processes and extends your organization's reach to a larger audience.


In summary, it's crucial for nonprofit organizations to prioritize maximizing fundraising efficiency to effectively fulfill their missions. This involves employing various strategies such as donor segmentation, thoughtful communication, peer-to-peer fundraising, donor stewardship, and utilizing Fundraising Intelligence.

By integrating these strategies into their fundraising initiatives, nonprofits can increase their fundraising efficiency, ultimately driving greater impact and sustainability in fulfilling their missions.


Bre Alexander is a content marketing manager at Kindsight. She has a diploma in Marketing and Advertising Management and has found her passion for empowering nonprofit organizations through her work. A self-proclaimed geek, Bre has used her unique skill set and experience to create engaging content and help implement new processes. Bre is outgoing, creative, and determined to continuously learn and grow.



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