The Different Types of Donors

Knowing the different types of donors in your organization can be a great way to understand who they are, helping you improve communication strategies and techniques. Each donor is unique, and they have their own core beliefs that motivate them to support your organization. Therefore, when it comes to engaging with them, you have to utilize different approaches. There are different types of donors in non-profit organizations, and they are explained below.


Prospects are potential donors who have not donated yet. Prospects are prime candidates that you believe will support your organization in some way. You can always send prospects your mailings, newsletters and annual appeals. You can then hope that they will send you donations in the future. Here are some questions to ask your donors.


Private foundations always set money aside for donation purposes. These foundations are never taxed because they are exempted from taxation by IRS laws. The tax-free status requires them to put a certain amount of money away to charity. Foundations mainly prefer to fund programs that help organizations accomplish their mission. 

Corporate donors

These represent the few corporations that exist to give large donations just because they want to be philanthropic. They expect that their donation will give them marketing opportunities. They ensure that publicity is maintained before, during and after an event. When creating development for your organization, you should include corporations as key donors and donor prospects.

If you want a contribution from a corporate donor, you need to highlight that your mission is what governs your employees. You should also make sure you understand the fiscal year of the corporation you want to approach. With this information, you can create a corporate mailing document that can be sent to different corporations.

Individual donors

Individual donors directly come to the organization and give donations. When multiple individuals donate to your organization, you will have a large percentage of contributions. You can then use these contributions as your annual operating income. Individual donors mostly donate in small amounts, repeatedly. They mostly respond to your events, which maybe gave them a good impression of your organization. They may also be interested in becoming a member of your organization, hence giving donations. Individual donors may also be responding to a direct mail you sent them. Whatever their reasons are, they are a great contribution to any organization. 

Major donors

Major donors might only be accessed through years of hard work and patience. Major donors normally give donations in large sums. Some of these donors give their contributions annually, while others give it strategically whenever you are conducting a campaign. For major donors, you have to keep them informed of how you are using their donations. 

It is advisable to assign each of your major donors to a suitable board member. Most major donors actually come through connections with the board members. Therefore, it is vital to educate your board members on how they can steward major donors. (Check out this guide to create a stewardship plan)

In conclusion, if you are running a non-profit, you are going to need all types of donations from all the donors highlighted above. 

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