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How nonprofits can rebuild trust and reach new audiences at the same time

It is no secret that charitable giving across the U.S. has declined. From 2000 to 2018, nonprofits across the U.S. lost 20 million donors. Then, we witnessed a wave of generosity during the pandemic that is now slowing down once again.

The reasons behind this decline are complex, but there are two that stand out:

  • Too many donors no longer trust nonprofits
  • Nonprofits are struggling to inspire new donors

What if there was a way to address both issues at once?

Our recent research—Solid Gold: The Nonprofit Marketer's Guide to Trust—shows that trust is earned when nonprofits are both transparent and competent. In other words, tell donors what you’re going to do, actually do it and report back on how their donation helps.

We also know that acquiring new donors through direct mail is getting more challenging (and more expensive). And digital media is a great way to expand your donor base to new audiences.

If we combine those two thoughts, we can develop an approach to reach new audiences and rebuild trust all at once. A thoughtful lead generation strategy has the potential to connect your nonprofit with new supporters, share the impact you’ve made and rebuild trust in your organization.

Ready to connect with new supporters and regain trust? Let’s explore some lead gen strategies.

1. Impact Reports 

You know your organization's impact on your mission, but potential donors may not. They need to see it. Highlight your success stories, statistics and financial accountability through impact reports.

Typically, nonprofits share impact reports in newsletters with their current donors, but this can be a wonderful way to cut through the noise and grab the attention of a prospective donor.

Target individuals on Facebook or LinkedIn who are known for their interest in philanthropy and charitable causes. Then, use lead-gen forms to capture contact information from individuals intrigued by the organization's transparency and effectiveness.

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2. High-Impact Philanthropy Showcase

Create visually appealing content showcasing the high-impact projects and initiatives supported by your organization. Highlight the organization's commitment to research, patient support or community programs.

Target the content to users with philanthropy interests and frequent donors on Facebook or LinkedIn. Use Facebook or LinkedIn lead-gen forms to collect contact info from interested individuals.

3. Fundraising Events/Exclusive Experiences

Donors want to feel involved and included in the organizations they support, as we uncovered in our Listen Up research. This leads to stronger, long-term relationships, which in turn leads to increased levels of giving.

Fundraising events and networking opportunities are a terrific way to get people involved, and you can promote them through digital media. Create lead-gen forms on Facebook to collect contact information from individuals interested in attending or supporting these events.

4. Impact Stories

What better way to showcase your impact than to hear it directly from the folks you’ve helped?

Feature testimonials from people in your community whose lives have been improved through medical treatments, addiction programs or simply a meal in a time of desperate need. Use Facebook lead-gen forms to capture contact information from potential donors interested in supporting your cause.

5. Awareness and Education Campaign

Sometimes people need to understand a bit more about what you do and how you accomplish your mission. When you help them connect the dots, they will trust you more.

Educate your audience with compelling content available for download in exchange for their email address. This not only builds trust, but it also establishes your organization as an expert in your field.

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6. Webinar or Workshop

Impact reports and stories tell prospective donors about what you do, but what if you show them your work?

Organize a live webinar or workshop featuring industry experts who can walk people through a day in their lives, discuss new research they’re working on, etc. Use Facebook or LinkedIn lead-gen forms to collect registrations and capture their contact information in the process.


By leveraging a thoughtful lead-gen strategy in digital media, you can connect with new audiences in ways that resonate with them. Rekindle their faith in nonprofits and turn them into dedicated advocates for your mission.

For more information on reaching new audiences and rebuilding donor trust, check out my recent webinar at the top of this blog.

Additional Resources

Nicole Daily

Nicole Daily is a digital media strategist at RKD Group. She is an expert on digital media audience and performance with more than six years of digital media campaign experience. Nicole couples strategy with ongoing optimization, helping translate the complicated digital world into actionable insights. She makes sure nonprofits' digital media targeting is spot-on, specifically for using social media as a marketing channel.

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