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How to Build A Base of Support

Jun 01, 2022

Supporters are the bedrock of a nonprofit. Supporters can include individual donors, members, volunteers, private foundations, major donors, corporations, magazine subscribers, email subscribers, social media followers, etc. It is important to have a diverse base of supporters so an organization does not become too reliant on one source. The phases outlined below explain the supporter lifecycle.


Nonprofits must regularly identify new supporters to grow their organization. New supporters can be acquired through email, social media, digital ads, website, search engine optimization (SEO), direct mail, events, and more. The leads should all be organized in a centralized data hub. 


Once new supporters have been acquired, they must be cultivated to inspire them to get involved with the nonprofit. It is critical for personalized relationships to be built with all supporters, not just the high-capacity supporters. Email automation technology enables nonprofits to connect with every supporter without investing a lot of time or money. 


Retention is measured by the number of supporters who continue to give back to the organization over time. A nonprofit can steward supporters by sharing organizational victories, expressing gratitude, inviting feedback, and more. The goal is to keep supporters engaged. Segmentation allows nonprofits to steward supporters based on different characteristics such as demographics or communication preferences. 

Today, nonprofits have access to customer relationship management (CRM) software that helps facilitate and simplify the acquisition, cultivation, and retention phases to build a strong base of support.