How to find funders you’ve been missing

Who are the funders most likely to support your cause? Research shows they’re those who’ve already given to an organisation similar to yours.

That’s the guiding principle of Ajah’s data-driven, donor-centred approach to funder research: don’t guess at who might support your cause, look at who’s actually funded organisations and projects similar to yours.

Consider it “reverse research” -- instead of searching directly for funders, start with charities similar to yours and the gifts they’ve received. You’ll learn which funders have a proven interest in what you’re doing, allowing you to focus on the right relationships.  

Here are a few techniques to help you get started:

1. its a beautiful day in...

Find out who is funding your neighbours. Some funders - like local businesses or smaller foundations - care most about helping charities and projects in their community. List some local charities and look at their funders - they may have uncovered some gems!

2. Apples to Apples

Which organisations are working on the same issues as you are? List all the Canadian charities operating in similar fields, then check out their funding mixes. You may find they’ve successfully approached funders you haven’t, but could.

3. A Friend of a Friend

Find out which other charities your own funders are giving to, then look at who else is giving to them. See any funders you’ve yet to approach? There’s a reason your funder gave to both charities -- maybe these other funders will see it too. (Bonus tip: if you spot charities with whom you share many funders, be sure to check on the amounts they’ve been getting. Could you be asking for more?)

4. Close Relations

Another great approach is to look at donors most closely “related” to your own funders -- that is, who share a significant number of recipient charities. It may take a bit of time (unless you have a tool that does it for you**), but any funder on these lists just became one of your best shots at a successful ask!

This approach is successful because you’re casting a wider net and finding better matches than you could by only relying on how funders talk about themselves. You’ll be able to make more asks of better prospects with a higher potential for great returns.

Happy Fundraising!

~ The team at Ajah ~

** Fundtracker, Ajah’s funder research service, automatically generates these lists of “related funders” for every one of your funders. And because we have complete profiles on every charity - including yours and all those similar to you - the other three searches listed here are also quick and easy with Fundtracker.