Building Support from Donors and Volunteer Fundraisers

23 May 2023 Jocelyn Horton    Last updated: 21 Jun 2023

Glenn Oakes, Caboodle Fundraising, facilitated the Building Support from Donors and Volunteer Fundraisers training, as part of the Cost of Fundraising series, supported by the Department for Communities.

In his second session, Glenn focused further on the key branding, messaging, and supporter care needed to build your network of support.

Attracting donors and keep them coming back for more

With the goal of creating a journey to attract donors and supporters and then keep them coming back for more, it’s useful to see it in the following sequence:

  1. No awareness of your organisation and its work/cause
  2. Having awareness
  3. Interested in your organisation and getting involved in fundraising options
  4. Seeking more information
  5. Trial – trying out fundraising
  6. Increased affinity/further trial of fundraising
  7. Becoming an on-going supporter
  8. Acting as a strong advocate for your organisation and its cause

How do you attract potential donors?

For this part of the session, the attendees worked in small groups to create a ‘snappy' summary of what their organisation does through buzzwords and phrases that reflected the personality of their not-for-profit and what kind of public perception they would like. Having a consistent brand and on-topic messaging is key to building your network of support as well as focusing on the outcomes of your communications.

Here, Glenn encouraged everyone to keep in mind that their goals are to raise awareness of the charity, help people and organisations understand the impact and benefits of their mission, ensure prospective donors are aware of fundraising opportunities and other ways to get involved, aim to build a positive relationship through regular communication, and ultimately, build loyalty and minimise donor attrition.

Harness the power of print and online communication

Organisations should consider utilising all available communication channels including print and broadcast media, in-house printed and electronic materials such as emails, e-newsletters, their website and social media platforms, and other channels. But where to start? Contact people who have helped you before or people you have helped – they offer the best potential.

When using social media, create a Social Media Strategy that includes goals to measure your success. Setting metrics such as “increase our follower number from 6k to 10k” allows you to see if your methods are successful and you can even begin to analyse which methods are better for increasing follower numbers or post engagement. But don’t act alone – encourage your Trustees, employees, and volunteers to like and share your posts.

Post with Purpose

When posting to social media, post with purpose. The means to make sure your posts also address the need for your work, raising awareness of your mission, the positive transformations and change you create, and provide proof your work works. To engage your digital audiences, create emotional connections through stories, offer practical tips and ways to get involved, and add calls to actions to your posts, e.g. ask them to like, share, comment, sign a petition, subscribe to a newsletter, read an article, etc. And always remember to show that you are human with real people benefiting from your work and real people doing the work.

To really embed communications into your work particularly on social media, create a weekly social media plan and monitor it to know what is working and what is not. Remember that it is important that you seek permission for contact across a range of personal mediums – email, telephone, post, instant messaging, etc to comply with GDPR regulations and meet the Code of Practice from the Fundraising Regulator.

Supporter Care is Important

Glenn stressed the point that voluntary and community sector organisations have to consider supporter care. For example, if you are hosting a fundraising challenge on the Just Giving platform, perhaps create a guide or simple procedure to help them register rather than just provide a link to the giving platform or make sure you respond in a timely fashion to their queries rather than leave them hanging. After they register, help them to help you raise funds. You could send them a compelling case study asking them to share with friends and family to promote their own fundraising efforts and increase donations – this can work well for sponsorship events. Advise them on how to promote their fundraising activity, suggest they ask their employer to add to their cash pot – think about what they might need to really maximise their fundraising – it’s to your benefit after all.

Always thank them and let them know what they have helped you to achieve. Your goal is to attract and then take them on a journey with great donor experiences and increasing levels of customer service – for example, send a copy of your newsletter or Annual Report, invite them to speak at nurturing events, send an e-birthday card, telephone them and thank personally, create a post on social media acknowledging their efforts and contribution to your cause, etc.

It is about building relationships with people and giving them a rewarding experience so they come back for more!



This session was delivered by Glenn Oakes, Caboodle Fundraising. Glenn has over thirty years experience specialising in fundraising and marketing for charities. He managed a national team of fundraising managers, before setting up a consultancy and mentoring business six years ago, to help small non-profit organisations with marketing and income generation.'s picture
by Jocelyn Horton

Fundraising Advice Officer

[email protected]

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