Every nonprofit organization looks for ways to recruit new supporters, particularly those deeply committed supporters who are willing to fight — and fundraise — in the trenches for your cause or mission. But how can your organization find and develop those kinds of supporters?

The key is community.

A community is more than simply a group of people living in the same area. It’s also a sense of fellowship with others who share common interests and goals. And that’s what you have in your supporters — people who have come together because they believe in your mission. But too often, you have a set of disconnected supporters trying to fundraise on their own for an event, or those who have completed an event and would like to do more but don’t know where to get started.

That’s why having a strong online presence is so important. By building a virtual home base for your community, you provide a place for potential supporters to feel welcome and invested in your mission — and to connect with other enthusiastic members. To do that, you need to assess your current website: Is it meeting your goals?

An example: The American Association for Cancer Research, a member organization of cancer researchers, realized that as the work of its members gained public visibility, so did the organization — and revenue increased. AACR evaluated its website to see how it could better achieve its goals of raising the organization’s public profile, turning members into donors and attracting new supporters.

The organization decided to focus its recruitment efforts through its foundation website and elevate the site to be its public face. Charity Dynamics worked with AACR to build a new foundation site geared toward supporting the organization’s goals. In particular, we focused on redesign strategies to attract new supporters:

  • Defined the audience: We honed in on the specific community AACR wanted to target (cancer survivors and family/friends)
  • Repackaged content: We put content in layman’s terms geared to educate a more public audience about cancer research and discoveries
  • Focused on organization and donor impact: We highlighted survivor success stories and connected those results to members’ research
  • Featured easy engagement actions: We made it easy and accessible to donate (cross-promoting on AACR’s main site)

One way we encouraged supporters to connect with the organization was inviting cancer survivors to share their story on the site. We also included different donation options (one-time gift, monthly gift, etc.) and made it easy to give across multiple platforms via responsive design.

By creating an engaging and educational online environment that resonates with its target audience, AACR was able to more easily invite them to become a part of its community and gain their support, from volunteer to monetary. AACR developed that connection with its audience through a defined content strategy that highlights its members’ important work and the impact its donors have on that work. By following a similar strategy, your organization could be well on its way to recruiting its own deeply committed community.