Close 34% of Donor Leads with this Proven Formula

Every new month brings with it a new challenge to meet fundraising targets. And, sadly many organizations fall short of their targets, which causes lots of stress and disappointment!

The most surprising thing is that achieving fundraising targets doesn’t need to be stressful or a disappointing experience!

Read on to discover a simple formula you can use to extract the Gold you need from new and current donors to say goodbye to the stress and frustration of meeting fundraising targets.

And, what ‘Gold are we talking about?

Finding out how donors want to support you through:

  • Giving Regularly
  • Making One Time Donations
  • Holding Fundraising Events
  • Purchasing Merchandise or Lottery Tickets

Epilepsy Action Australia applied the Golden Leads formula and generated 2,030 Donation Opportunities from 822 Donor Leads that closed at 34.15%.

In explaining their phenomenal close rate, Epilepsy Action Australia CEO Carol Ireland says:

“We averaged 2.5 donation opportunities per lead, which gave our staff more to talk about and increased our close rate to over 34%.”

Now, without taking anything away from their great performance, let’s be honest…

…with Gold like that, your team couldn’t help getting really high close rates too, right?

(Click here to see the contest site Epilepsy Action Australia created using Your Lead Engine to achieve these outstanding results!)

Here’s the Proven 4-Step Formula You Can Replicate to Acquire a Flood of Highly Converting Donor Leads.

ca6c07e8-7286-4213-bfb7-c21f0fe2aa02-mediumSTEP 1 – Developing Your Strategy

The easy part in generating Golden Leads is knowing what you want – hot donor leads who tell you how they’d like to support your organization.

However, unlike other lead generation activities where you’re usually happy just collecting basic contact details (e.g. during a newsletter sign up), the key to getting Golden Leads that’ll crush fundraising targets is gathering donor intelligence. This added knowledge consistently translates into multiple donation opportunities and high conversion rates.

The best way to go about getting Golden Leads is to invite current and potential donors to enter a contest giveaway or sweepstakes. And, the best prize to offer in a contest or sweepstakes is a vacation to a popular holiday destination.

Most everyone enjoys taking vacations and will continue to take future vacations, so providing them with a free entry to win a desirable vacation will be very attractive to them.

You also need to think through the process and consider a number of key areas:

  1. Which donors are you going to target? Do you need to segment your donors or engage with all of them?

Here’s a tip – At the end of the day, it’s really just a numbers game, so invite them all to enter the contest.

  1. Which ‘Prize’ can I give away that has enough perceived value to really get their attention and take notice?

Regardless of whether you’re segmenting your donors or not, be sure to have a great prize. You don’t have to spend the earth on your prize giveaway, but don’t skimp on it either — make the prize attractive enough to the majority of your audience.

Why not ask one of your corporate sponsors to donate a prize? They’ll appreciate the free exposure and being associated with your organization (and you’ll save money on a prize).

  1. How long should I run my contest?

Two weeks is the absolute bare minimum, however, the length really depends on the prize giveaway, the size of your donor base and the reach of your marketing channels.

For example, Epilepsy Action Australia ran their contest for 11 weeks, which allowed them to spread the cost of their prize over a longer period to keep lead costs down and generate more Golden Leads.

  1. Which marketing channels or touch points will you use to inexpensively drive traffic to the contest?

Typically, sending email invitations and including contest announcements in your newsletters and social media profiles is very inexpensive.

Epilepsy Action Australia announced their contest on their Facebook page to their 46,000 fans and also had tremendous success using Facebook Ads to drive potential donors to their contest.

(Click here to see the Facebook contest announcement Epilepsy Action Australia used and the contest site they created using Your Lead Engine to reach out to their Facebook fans.)

  1. How are you going to engage with contestants (leads) once you know how they’d like to support your organisation? You’ll see more on this later in Step 3.

shutterstock_294459425 (1)STEP 2 — Designing Your Contest Site

A lot of organizations use very basic contest landing pages when running contests on their social media pages to capture contact details.

That’s okay if you just want to capture contact details, however to extract the Gold you need to crush fundraising targets, you need to go just a little further.

And, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on developers or graphic designers to create a terrific contest site that delivers all the elements you need — there are a number of inexpensive platforms you can access to build your contest sites.

For instance, Epilepsy Action Australia uses Your Lead Engine to create their contest sites to maximize lead flow and reduce costs.

Check out the contest site Epilepsy Action Australia created using Your Lead Engine to generate 2,030 Donation Opportunities from 822 Donor Leads that closed at 34.15%.

When building your contest site to generate Golden Leads, here’s the blueprint of elements you want to include in your Contest Site.

Be sure to include the following elements on your Entry Form page:

Contact Details – The only contact details you really need as required fields are your contestant’s first and last name, email address and contact phone numbers (at least cellular/mobile). The important thing to remember is to keep it simple to keep participation rates up.

Gold Mining Image 1Survey Questions – Add Survey Questions as required fields to your Entry Form.

This is where the ‘Gold’ comes from!

Here are examples of the types of survey questions and answers you might want to ask:


Would you consider buying lottery tickets? □ Yes  □ Maybe, tell me more  □ No

Would you consider making a donation?     □ Yes  □ Maybe, tell me more  □ No

Consider holding a fundraising event?         □ Yes  □ Maybe, tell me more  □ No

Will you become a member of <Org.>?        □ Yes   □ Maybe, tell me more  □ No

Important Always include ‘Maybe, tell me more‘ as an answer option!

Epilepsy Action Australia found that by adding this simple answer option 75.7% of their contestants answered either ‘Yes’ or ‘Maybe, tell me more‘ on two or more of their Survey Questions.

This provided an average of 2.5 donation opportunities per lead, which significantly increased their close rate!

Always better to get “at least two bites of the cherry” on the one call, right?

Sponsor/Promoter’s name and address – Make sure you include your organization’s full name and street address (not P.O. Box) on the entry form so contestants know who is running the contest.

Privacy Statement – This statement contains the ‘Opt In’ wording your legal team should provide to obtain consent from contest participants to receive appeals for support in the future by email, SMS text messaging or telephone, so you’re covered for Anti Spam and Do Not Call legislations.

It’s particularly important to have this statement on your entry form to capture Opt In from new potential donors.

Acknowledgement Statement – The statement sits under the Privacy Statement with a tick box contestants must check to have their entry registered. This confirms they have read and agree to the Contest Rules and Privacy Statement.

Important: Depending on the legal jurisdictions you operate in, you need to be sure that you incorporate all local, state/provincial and federal requirements related to running contests or sweepstakes, as well as, Privacy, Anti Spam and Do Not Call legislations to make sure you’re compliant with all the rules and regulations.

And, be sure you have your lawyers provide you with the wording for the Privacy Statement, Acknowledgement Statement and Privacy Policy — remember, they’re the experts!

Other elements you should include in your Contest Site are:

About Us – remind donors (and introduce yourself to new potential donors) about your worthy cause and what a difference their support can make.

Contest Rules – be sure to have comprehensive contest rules that include specifics about the prize giveaway, how and when the draw will be conducted, and how the winner will be contacted at the end of the contest.

Privacy Policy – same policy your legal team has provided to you.

Website Terms and Conditions – probably only need to include these if your contest site is not located on your website – best to check with the legal team.

Thank You Page – this page closes the loop of the contest process and should tell contestants what happens next – when the draw will be conducted and how the winner will be notified.

To really extend your reach and generate more leads you should also incorporate:

Refer-a-friend functionality – Extend your reach even further by allowing contestants to invite their family and friends to enter the contest by email or by sharing on social media.

Make it worth their while by giving them an extra entry in the contest for everyone they refer that actually enters the contest!

Offers Page – Once contestants have referred their family and friends, have an Offers Page appear with “Donation Appeals” including a call-to-action to a toll free number and/or link to your website.

Now that you’ve got their attention, you may as well grab some low hanging fruit, right?

And, whenever someone selects one of your appeal offers have your system send you an ‘offer alert’ with the contestant’s contact details so your team can get onto this hot donor straight away!

Viral Offers – Regardless of whether contestants selected one of your appeal offers or not, provide the functionality that allows contestants to send one of your ‘Donation Appeals’ to their family and friends by email or the ability to upload onto social media.

This allows appeals for donations to go viral and drive inbound calls from people who didn’t enter the contest!

Contact Method – If a contestant selected one of your donation appeals, give them the opportunity to tell you how and when to contact them to discuss supporting you. This is the best type of lead you can get, so be sure that your system sends you this information straight away!

More Bang for Your Buck 2STEP 3 — Driving Traffic to Your Contest Site

Driving existing and new donors to your contest site can be done very inexpensively!

Just think about all the marketing channels and touch points you use now to drive donations or engage with existing and potential donors and include a contest invitation in the copy. A few very inexpensive channels to use are:

  1. Contest invitations sent by email to both existing and past donors.

Here’s a tip – You should also have a look at previous prospects in your database that have been designated as ‘not interested’. They may have been ‘not interested’ in providing support when you last contacted them, however, many would likely be interested in entering a free contest.

And, by answering the survey questions (as we saw in Step 2) many will turn themselves into new leads!

  1. Text messages inviting both existing and past donors to enter the contest is good way to engage if you don’t have email addresses.
  2. Showcasing a Contest Title on your website.

Generally less than 95% of people visiting websites leave their contact details. Consider how much traffic that you’re missing out on now would be enticed by an attractive contest!

  1. Have a Pop Up with a contest invitation appear on your website and landing pages when visitors are about to leave – you may as well have these assets working harder for you, right?
  2. Promote your contest in your regular Newsletters – engagement rates are typically high!
  3. Promote your contest on your Blog or Social Media profiles to reach your donors and increase the chances of your contest going viral!

Here’s a tip – Aside from promoting your contest on your Facebook page to reach out to your fan base – test using Facebook Ads to expand your reach to drive new potential donors to your contest.

Click here to see Epilepsy Action Australia’s Facebook post and the contest site they created to generate 2,030 Donation Opportunities from 822 Donor Leads that closed at 34.15%.

Crushing Sales Targets Image 4STEP 4 — The Sales Process: Following Up with Contestants

Now, the best part!

Based on the answers to the survey questions contestants provided on the entry form, develop contact protocols to ensure optimal messaging and timing to engage with your Golden Leads for the best conversion rates. When thinking through this process, consider:

  1. Calling contestants that selected a ‘Donation Appeal’ as soon as possible!
  2. Contact contestants at the time and date that they asked you to call!
  3. Call all contestants that gave you a positive answer to one of your survey questions, as soon as possible – get to them before they choose to support someone else!
  4. Set up an auto email campaign with relevant and timely content about your cause and all the good work your organization does, and definitely have a call-to-action that invites them to contact you if they want additional information or to support you.

Crushing Sales Targets Image 3Crushing Your Fundraising Targets

Like any new lead generation strategy it takes some thinking and a little time to put everything together to generate highly responsive and cost-effective donor leads.

However, by starting with the Golden Leads formula you’ll easily and quickly build a conversion machine that will constantly deliver the high quality leads you need to surpass your current fundraising targets!

Click on the video below to hear what Epilepsy Action Australia CEO Carol Ireland has to say about their success using Your Lead Engine to generate their Golden Leads.

 See the Golden Leads Formula in Action!

Click here to see the actual contest site Epilepsy Action Australia created to generate 2,030 Donation Opportunities from 822 Donor Leads that Closed at 34.15%

…and discover how easily you can replicate their success to create your own Golden Leads Machine.

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