5 Steps to Successfully Raise Funds from Individual Donors

By November 13, 2020 No Comments

We recently hosted a workshop with Dhaval Udani, CEO of Danamojo a platform that empowers over 900 NGOs to set up donation portals on their own websites for retail fundraising.

Dhaval was phenomenal and shared a wealth of information that we believe will truly help any early-stage social entrepreneur kickstart their fundraising efforts in a cohesive and structured manner.

Excerpts from the workshop.

Different Sources of Funding

  1. Government
  2. Corporates (CSR)
  3. Foundations and Institutions
  4. Individuals (HNIs, Family, Friends)

Individual donations are growing at twice the pace in India. In 2018-19, 48% donations to charities and NGOs were from individuals, according to tax filing details. The actual number could be much higher.

It is essential that like any good investment portfolio, you diversify the sources of funding of your organisation. However, retail donors need to be at the top of the list. They have the appetite and capacity to contribute to your work for a long period of time as opposed to 3-4 year proposals/contracts. The best part – once a donor is engaged with your program, they go on to be ambassadors of your work and encourage more people to donate to your cause. This widens your circle of influence significantly. 

Here are the 5 steps that will lead you to successfully raise funds from individual donors.


  • Identify 

    The first thing you need is a donor list – add everyone who has donated to you, current leads, and potentials you met at a conference or elsewhere. It is crucial that you keep them updated. Send one good story to a donor every month highlighting your impact or even a newsletter. The emailer should not be more than a 5-min read. Don’t chase perfection, sending something out is more important. Disciple is more important than quality.
  • Ask
    Entrepreneurs rarely subscribe to the culture of openly asking. But, I say, be shameless. Ask. You are not asking for yourself, but to bring about social change. You are providing an avenue for the donor to do good and feel good. Always remember – you are helping the donor, it’s not just the donor helping you. Be specific about your ask and ask for a specific amount. Donors have been known to respond well to specific requests. Research shows that you can ask a donor 52 times a year (in different ways); at a minimum, you should target asking at least in every third conversation.
  • Thank  
    Make sure you reach out to anyone who contributes within 2 days. Acknowledge their support and be grateful. You can send them images, a beneficiary story – anything to thank them for their support.
  • Retain 
    The simplest thing to do is ask your current/past donors if they would like to keep contributing. They should be your first go-to database when you start fundraising. Show them your progress & plans, and encourage them to donate more than they did before.
  • Nurture 
    How to get more value out of your existing donors? Keep them updated and engaged throughout the year. Most people can give 2-3x of what they’re currently giving. It’s easier to ask for your inflation-adjusted cost.
UnLtd India

UnLtd India

We find, support and grow early-stage social entrepreneurs to build high-impact organisations and grow as catalysts for social change.