The journey that a potential donor takes to become an actual donor for an organization is called the “donor journey.” On social media, this journey can be divided into four stages that move a potential donor towards becoming an actual donor. These stages include attracting potential donors, connecting them to the cause, converting them to donors, and retaining them as donors by making them a part of the community.

The donor journey is important because it helps organizations define the content they will create and move their fundraising and social media goals forward. By keeping the donor journey in mind, an organization can generate ideas for social media posts that align with their goals.

Stage 1: Attracting Potential Donors

The first stage of the donor journey on social media is attracting potential donors. This is where you begin finding and attracting those who are most likely to give to your cause, also known as the ideal donor. It’s crucial to know and understand who those people are, as you cannot attract those whom you do not know.

Awareness and Authority

Attracting potential donors starts with two subcategories: awareness and authority. To create awareness, you need to make your ideal donor understand what your organization is about. This is done by creating content that makes your ideal donor aware your organization exists and what you do. Some examples of this type of content include storytelling posts that tell the founder’s story in short form, universal belief statements that convey your organization’s values, and inspirational posts that show what life could look like if your organization succeeds.

On the other hand, authority posts show your ideal donor why your nonprofit is the organization that can solve your cause’s problem. You need to answer the question of why a donor should partner with your nonprofit to solve the problem and what makes you different from other nonprofits doing similar things. Examples of authority posts include education about the cause, sharing statistics, articles related to your cause, and thought leadership that highlights how your nonprofit uniquely solves the problem.

To attract potential donors, it’s essential to use a combination of both awareness and authority content to create interest and encourage engagement. By doing so, you can attract potential donors who are more likely to donate to your cause.

Stage 2: Connection

The second stage of connecting potential donors to the cause involves building a relationship with them by educating them about the cause and demonstrating the impact their donations could make. This stage is crucial because donors need to feel connected to the cause in order to give.


One effective way to connect potential donors to the cause is through storytelling. By sharing stories about the people or communities that the nonprofit organization serves, potential donors can see the real-life impact of their donations. This can be done through videos, photos, or written testimonials.

Events or Webinars

Nonprofit organizations can also host events or webinars to provide more information about their cause and answer any questions potential donors may have. These events can help to create a sense of community and allow potential donors to connect with the organization and other supporters.

It’s important to remember that connecting with potential donors is a two-way street. Nonprofit organizations should also listen to the concerns and questions of potential donors and provide transparent information about how donations will be used. This can help to build trust and establish a long-lasting relationship with donors.

Stage 3: Conversion

In the third stage, the focus of the organization is to convert potential donors into actual donors. This can be achieved by inspiring them with information about the cause, statistics, and success stories. Education about the cause is crucial to help potential donors understand the impact of the organization’s work and how their contribution can make a difference. Sharing statistics can also be effective in demonstrating the scope of the issue and the need for support.

Inspire Donors

Additionally, inspiring potential donors by painting a picture of what the world would look like with or without the organization’s involvement can be an effective way to motivate them to donate. By illustrating the impact of the organization’s work, donors can better understand the value of their contribution.

Build Relationships with Your Donor

Other effective methods for converting potential donors into actual donors include personalization and building a relationship with the potential donor. By tailoring the messaging to the individual, the organization can create a stronger connection with the potential donor and increase the likelihood of a donation. Building a relationship with the potential donor can also help to establish trust and credibility, which can be crucial in securing a donation.

Overall, the third stage of the donor cycle is critical for the organization’s success in fundraising. By effectively converting potential donors into actual donors, the organization can generate the necessary support to achieve its goals and make a positive impact on the cause it serves.

Stage 4: Retain

The final stage is retaining donors by making them a part of the community. This involves posting content that lets the donor know that they are appreciated and valued, such as thanking them for their donation, celebrating their contributions, or giving them updates on the impact of their donation.

Thank Your Donors

One of the most effective ways to retain donors is to regularly post content that shows appreciation for their donations. This can be done by thanking them publicly for their contribution, celebrating their contributions with the wider community, and providing updates on the impact of their donation. For example, an organization might post photos and stories about the people who have been helped by the donor’s contribution, or provide a progress report on the specific project or cause that the donor contributed to.

In addition to regular updates and appreciation, it’s also important to provide opportunities for donors to engage with the organization and the wider community. This might include invitations to events, opportunities to volunteer or participate in advocacy efforts, or exclusive content or resources that are only available to donors. By providing these opportunities, donors feel more connected to the organization and the cause, and are more likely to continue their support over the long term.

Make Donors Part of Your Community

Overall, the key to retaining donors is to make them feel like they are part of a community that is making a real difference. By regularly engaging with donors, showing appreciation for their contributions, and providing opportunities for them to stay involved, organizations can build a strong and committed donor base that will support them for years to come.


In conclusion, the donor journey is a crucial aspect of social media fundraising. By following the four stages of the donor journey, organizations can attract potential donors, connect them to the cause, convert them to donors, and retain them as donors by making them a part of the community. This journey can help define the content for social media posts and move the organization’s goals forward.


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