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If you haven’t read the post explaining what Nonprofit Marketing Funnels are and how to create one, you should do that before we dive into how to optimize them… Done? Ok, great! 

Now that you have a good idea of what your nonprofit donor funnel looks like, it’s time to optimize it. By optimizing each level of the marketing funnel, you can increase donations and retain supporters. Remember your nonprofit funnel might look slightly different, but this general template is a good jumping point to start with. 

Let’s take “Charlie” on this journey with us and see how optimizing their path leads them from newcomer to super supporter.


At this initial stage of the nonprofit marketing funnel, Charlie just heard the name of your nonprofit. They may have learned about you from social media, search engines, partner organizations, or even word of mouth. To move onto the next stage of the funnel, they need to take some sort of action that shows their interest in your nonprofit’s cause.

Awareness Goal 🡫

Increase awareness, educate, and compel people to connect in some way – for example, following you on social media or sharing their email address.

Tips to Increase Awareness


If you want your nonprofit to be found on the internet, you’ve got to make SEO a priority. Think of it as a cheap and effective way to increase the traffic of your website. By playing by a few rules that allow you to rank higher with Google, you will reach your audience. Don’t know where to start? Check out our SEO Starter Guide for Nonprofits.

Google Ad Grants

We’ve all seen Google Ads. We’ve all clicked on Google Ads. And while most of them are paying to be in those top positions, valid nonprofits are given free cash to get started – up to $10k a month. Learn more in our Google Ads Guide.

Social Media

Social media is often an underrated marketing tool when looking at direct conversion rate. But it is perfect for top of funnel stuff. When your nonprofit posts on social and you get some engagement, you’re casting a wider net to potentially new audiences. They might not donate ASAP, but they’re hearing your name.

Eye-Catching CTAs

Each page of your website should have a goal, and that goal should be accompanied by a can’t-miss-it-but-not-obnoxious CTA. The user’s eye should be drawn to by the page and button design, and then inspired to take action. Instead of a simple “Donate,” try something more impactful like “Feed a Hungry Child Today.”


Alright, Charlie landed on your website and included their name in the generic newsletter sign up! Now you can be assured that they know who you are and are interested in what you do. To move Charlie to the next stage, they need to get actively involved with your nonprofit in some way.

Interest Goal 🡫

Build trust with Charlie through your website and messaging to make them feel comfortable getting more actively involved – for example, signing a petition, attending an event or contacting you with questions.

Tips to Increase Interest

Consistent Branding

You likely have different initiatives, various campaigns, and several marketing channels. Make sure that each is clearly conveying their unique message without sacrificing your nonprofit’s brand. This will help build trust when your audience comes across your organization in different capacities. Learn how.

Testimonials & Stories

Stories from the community and the clients you serve are incredibly powerful. Whether they take the form of a blog post, testimonial, or video, they build a connection with the audience in a way that stating facts and figures cannot. They show who needs help, how you help, and what the audience can do to make a difference.

Be Transparent

Being transparent is essential if you want potential supporters to get involved with your organization. Building trust doesn’t have to be hard, but it needs to be done deliberately and thoughtfully. Check out this post: 5 Ways to Build Trust 

Have an easy-to-navigate website to avoid confusion

An easy-to-navigate website will help your audience avoid confusion. Instead of bouncing around your site hoping to find what they are looking for (or worse, just leaving), a well maintained site will keep your audience engaged and position you as the authority on your mission.


Charlie signed your petition, and they feel good about taking a step towards bettering their community. In fact, they feel so good about it that they press the social share button on the thank you page to invite their friends and family to also get involved. Now that Charlie is actively engaged with your nonprofit and you are building a relationship with them, the next step is to encourage them to become a donor and/or a volunteer.

Involvement Goal 🡫

Make it easy and rewarding for them to be involved so that they are encouraged to invest their money or time into your nonprofit – for example, becoming a donor and/or a volunteer.

Tips to Increase Involvement

A/B Testing

Your pool of people in your nonprofit marketing funnel is getting smaller, and you want to make sure that each touchpoint is a productive one. There are many ways to test your website, and an A/B test is a great way to start zeroing in what is most effective.

Effective & Easy Forms

If you could only choose one thing on your website to work perfectly (not that Mittun would ever recommend ignoring the rest), it would have to be your forms. If someone is in a position where they are ready to donate or volunteer, you want that form to be smooth and seamless. Test your forms thoroughly and regularly.

Best Donation Practices

In fact, don’t just test the form. Check out your whole donation process. We know all about what makes a great online donation form, and how to give a good one a boost. Read more.

Say Thanks

Whether they are donating $1 or $100, they deserve a thank you. Not only is it the polite thing to do, it opens your organization up to additional opportunities for engagement. The thank you page could include social links. You could send them a video that explains more of what their donation will go towards, deepening the relationship. Saying thank you keeps the line of communication open after conversion.


After a few follow-up emails letting Charlie know the impact signing the petition had and thanking them for their involvement, Charlie made a donation to your organization. While this is worth celebrating, you have not reached the end of the nonprofit marketing funnel. Now it is time to nurture the relationship to keep them engaged.

Investment Goal 🡫

Engage them so that they want to commit to the relationship with your nonprofit – for example, donating on a recurring basis or donating a legacy gift.

Tips to Increase Investment

Segment Email Lists

Your nonprofit might have a single mission, but you should have many messages. A lot of factors play into what messaging will resonate most with a donor: age, location, affiliations, and more. By segmenting lists, you can make sure you are sharing what matters the most to them and therefore encourage them to increase their involvement.

Share Your Initiatives

At this point, they trust you so you should trust them. Not all your communications need to be about all the great work you’ve done and how they need to give you money so you can do more of it. Educating your donors on your goals – the data that led you to these conclusions, the steps you are taking, and how it will impact the community – invites them to be involved in a way that goes beyond being a one-and-done donor.

Recurring Giving Campaigns

A well-executed monthly recurring donor program can be wildly impactful when done right. And since recurring donors are 440% more valuable than single time donors, it is worth the effort. Here are some tips on how to step up your recurring donor strategy.

Offer incentives

Sure, donating to a cause is an altruistic act. But that doesn’t mean that some sort of incentive won’t encourage more of those altruistic acts. Providing a gift for a certain dollar amount often leads to more donations, and that gift will help to keep your nonprofit top of mind when they are in a position to donate again.


Charlie has made your cause their cause, and has graduated from supporter to super supporter or ambassador. This is where the true relationship is built. And like any healthy relationship, it needs to be maintained.

Stewardship Goal 🡫

Nurture the relationship. To keep them at this level, it is your responsibility to ensure they are getting something out of their support for you as well.

Tips to Increase Stewardship

Watch Credit Card Expiration Dates

We live in a subscription-based world. We love the ease of knowing that the money is being pulled directly from our account without having to think about it. And since so many people aren’t thinking about it, they won’t notice if the card on file expires. Instead of running the risk of your donor not realizing (and then not reinstating their monthly donation), give them a heads up. Thank them for their impact, and ask for an updated payment method.

Share Their Impact

Your donors won’t know what kind of impact they are having if you don’t tell them. Do it with a fun and engaging annual report. The days of yore featured impact reports that were dry, boring PDFs filled to the brim with numbers and blocks of copy in small font that were read only by big donors. Maybe. But thanks to technology, you can have an interactive, engaging webpage that offers benefits beyond telling the cut-and-dried facts. This will encourage your newer supporters to continue down the funnel, and provide deeper meaning to your super supporters.

Thank Them Publicly & Personally

Thanking your donors should be happening every single step of the way. Sometimes more than once. If you have a donor that is giving on a recurring basis or in any sort of “above and beyond” capacity, thank them personally. A hand-written note or a phone call means a lot. Also include their name (if they are comfortable) in the annual report to publicly thank them for their generosity and support.

Ask for Their Feedback

You are never done finetuning your nonprofit marketing tunnel, just like you are never done strategizing how to do more good in the world. Since your super supporters have made it this far with you, ask them for their feedback. What do they appreciate about being connected to your organization? What do they think you could improve upon? You might get some unique perspectives you never would have thought of being in driver’s seat.

What now?

Creating and optimizing your nonprofit marketing funnel can certainly look overwhelming. Thankfully, you don’t have to go at it alone. There are a lot of tools out there that can help. Here are two of our favorites:

There are also a lot of experts that can help too – several of them here at Mittun. We are the premier web provider for nonprofits, and we would be happy to help you on your mission to do good.

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