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Everyone gets excited by acquisition. It’s new people. It’s the potential for more donor dollars. It’s a hopeful picture of a brighter future where you can do more good. Who wouldn’t get excited about that?

But that excitement sometimes leads organizations to hit the gas pedal without first taking the time to adequately map out the road ahead. Acquisition is great and necessary and beneficial—but it also needs to be done right, with the right expectations, to deliver the best return.

Understanding your donors and what motivates them to give to your organization is key to creating an experience that will take a prospective donor from first impression to committed supporter. Here are some tips to help you grow and cultivate donor relationships for ultimate loyalty and lifetime value.

Don’t Overlook These Essential Elements of Acquisition

Before you go “all in” with your acquisition efforts, make sure you first have a solid understanding of…

  1. Your investment tolerance

Many organizations engage in acquisition without fully appreciating the investment involved. It’s important that everyone up and down your organization agrees to the risk and understands the expected return on investment. Acquisition is not an investment that pays off overnight, and it may actually take years to reap the true rewards of your efforts. Have a clear and patient understanding of that reality.

  1. The types of donors you want to reach

It’s critical before you start your acquisition efforts you know the audience you are targeting and have alignment in this area. You may be looking to acquire the same kind of donors you currently have or be looking to acquire a new demographic or utilize a new channel. Depending on your focus, the approach and expected results may look very different.

  1. Your case for support

Far too many organizations have a difficult time answering the (seemingly) simple question: “Why are you raising money?” Perhaps it’s because organizations do a lot of good work, and it’s too hard to distill it all down to one simple call to action. Or perhaps this critical component of fundraising does not receive enough attention industry-wide. Either way, it is incredibly difficult for a prospective donor to decide whether your organization is worthy of their contribution—and their loyalty—if they don’t understand why you need them.

  1. Your best channels for engagement

From mail, digital, and social to mobile, events, and phone, there are many different channels you can potentially use when engaging in acquisition. All channels are not created equal for all audiences. Understanding which target audience you are trying to reach should drive which channels you invest in. Certain channels also have a steeper cost-to-enter, so budget may be a factor as well.

  1. Your new donor conversion strategy

Finally, make sure you have a plan for the new donors you acquire. You need to protect your acquisition investment by ensuring you have put in place the strategies necessary to create an experience that will bond your new donors more quickly to your organization and secure that all-important second gift. This may require the investment of more time, money, and effort—but it will pay off in the long run.

Looking to give your acquisition efforts a boost? Learn how to captivate new donors and keep them coming back by downloading our free e-book First Impressions of Acquisition.