Profile donors to spur new giving

A charity’s best prospect for a new gift can be a current donor, who also can serve as a great example for prospective donors.

So writing profiles of current donors can serve the twin goals of helping to cultivate them and other current donors for future gifts while also courting prospective donors.

Still, many charities that publish profiles of their donors waste the opportunity.

Profiles of donors should show the impact their gifts can have in advancing their own values while making a difference in the lives of the people and places the charity serves.

Yet too many donor profiles at too many nonprofits simply pander to donors and overstate both their impact and that of the organization.

Make your profiles human and real. Show who the donor is. Explain how the donor’s gift was structured to address the donor’s personal, family or business needs, while also making your community a better place to live, and in the process serving an important cause the donor cares about.

Donor profiles do not need to be long to be clear and compelling. You can capture a lot of information in a short profile. What’s important is to use details, not generalities and overblown praise, to show the impact a gift can have both on the people it benefits and on the donor.

And put your donor profiles to productive use. Post them on your website and distribute them through social media. Include them in your newsletter, annual report and fundraising materials. Print them and use them as handouts when you talk to prospective donors.

Donor profiles can be a great way to cultivate current donors by reinforcing the value of their giving, and to show prospective donors how their gift can lift the lives of others while advancing their own values and meeting their personal needs.

Want professional help?

Philanthropy North Carolina is a consulting practice that provides writing and strategic communications support for nonprofits, foundations, colleges and universities, and others working for social good.

To find out more about hiring Philanthropy North Carolina to work with your organization to improve your communications, contact Todd Cohen at 919.272.2051 or

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