Finding Donors and Supporters

Posted: Apr 21st, 2017 Updated: Feb 24, 2021

You have a team but now you need fans and followers

You’ve come up with an idea to save the world. You’ve designed your logo, written a personal statement, launched a website, and designed a superhero outfit (you may have gone overboard with that last one). Now that your team is together, you need people to wear your shirts, flaunt your stickers, and cheer you on. In short, you need fans and followers.

Everyone has a close group of friends, casual acquaintances and organizations and networks that they belong to and believe in, and these people and groups are ripe with potential donors to your organization.

   - Imagine standing in a park, and in this park is every single person you have ever interacted with on a regular basis. These people are family, close friends, friends from high school, your neighbor down the street that you chat with at the grocery store, and co-workers.

   - Next, think about that one guy, you know, with the dog and the kid in Canada or something that you always talk to when you go to that monthly breakfast, or that one woman who always loves to talk to you at community council meetings.

   - After picturing that group of individuals, picture people you don’t know personally, but you feel could be friendly to your organization (at least friendly enough to donate and/or provide volunteers).

   - Finally, picture groups that you agree with but don’t interact with such as chambers of commerce, unions, and/or advocacy groups. Now, imagine these people all radiating out from you, with those closest to you being, well, closer to you in the park.

donor circle clear back

This is your donor circle. This a great reference tool when you are looking for that next donor. 


Here is a deeper look of ideas of to get your list started. As you build out your initial list, use our handy template below to keep yourself organized and make sure you collect all the right information and can easily import it into FundHero when you're done!


Friends and Family

The first place to look is always your friends and family.

It is more than coincidence that superheroes generally first save someone they love. These people believe in you, support you, and will want to tune into your life because they care about you. Superheroes aren’t shy, so don’t pass up on the low hanging fruit.

Mom, dad, brother, sister, best friend from high school, grandma, Uncle Joe, cousins, in-laws, and neighbors down the street.


Community Leaders and Stakeholders

Who are the stakeholders that might care about your cause? When Charles Xavier launched his School for Gifted Youngsters, he sought out other mutants to coach and mentor his students. Over time, he worked with Beast and Magneto, who connected with their own circles, to broaden his reach.

In your community, who aligns with or has a stake in your mission? Are there other non-profits that care about a similar issue or are working in the same space? Are there community, business, or political leaders that are committed to similar causes?

Don’t forget to think local. School boards, community centers, little league coaches and boy scout leaders, etc are people who are very connected and committed to the community.


People who have done this before

If you are a political candidate, there are people who have run the race you are running before. If you are a non-profit, while your niche may be a little different, there are other groups in your community working in a similar space.

Take the time to meet with these groups/people and ask about networks, organizations, associations, and individuals that have and are operating in your space and industry. Ask them who you should include in your list of supporters and fans.


Look through other lists

Sometimes, the best way to build a list is to look through other lists and jog your memory of people to add to your base. If you need some ideas of where to look, here are 20 common lists non-profit leaders, start-up managers, and candidates often look to when building their fan network.

  1. Immediate Family
  2. Close Friends
  3. Cell Phone Contacts
  4. Holiday Card List
  5. Work Colleagues and Associates (Current and Previous)
  6. Vendors and Clients
  7. Wedding Invitation List
  8. Facebook Friends
  9. Twitter Followers
  10. Instagram Followers
  11. LinkedIn Connections
  12. Community/Non-Profit Boards
  13. Clubs and Associations
  14. Church Directories
  15. PTA and Children’s Sports/Activity Lists
  16. Elected Officials
  17. Community Councils
  18. Chambers of Commerce
  19. Principals, Teachers, Professors
  20. Sports coaches and mentors
  21. Former Classmates
  22. Old Yearbooks
  23. Lawyers and Bar Association Directories
  24. Political Donors Lists

For a more detailed post on finding donors and understanding donor circles check out this post here.

Matt Lyon

Matt has over 12 years of political fundraising experience. Matt’s experience includes overseeing up to fourteen staff members, administering budgets exceeding $1.1 million annually, directing million dollar paid media programs, raising over $5 million for various causes and organizations, and developing and implementing communications strategies that led to dozens of stories in local and national outlets, including the New York Times and Washington Post. Matt is an experienced and campaign veteran always willing to help the next candidate make a difference.