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Donor Participation Project

Co-Creation: How to Partner With Donors for Maximum Impact

Co-creation is a powerful way for nonprofits to build meaningful relationships with donors and support their missions. By partnering with donors, fundraisers can gain valuable insight into donors’ passions and priorities to develop customized engagement opportunities.

The first step to co-creation is listening.

Fundraisers should ask open-ended questions to understand donors’ motivations, values, and goals. Questions like “What causes are you most passionate about?” or “What motivates you to give to our organization?” can reveal the “why” behind donors’ support. Listen for hints about their interests and ask follow-up questions. The more fundraisers understand what drives donors, the more they can partner on impactful initiatives.

With insight into donors’ motivations, fundraisers can develop a suite of engagement options at various levels.

These could include opportunities for donors to provide input through surveys or focus groups, join a donor advisory council, or participate in site visits or behind-the-scenes tours. The options should match donors’ skills, talents, and interests so they feel genuinely engaged. When donors feel their time and input are valued, they become even stronger partners.

A shared vision and open communication are key to successful co-creation.

Fundraisers should communicate their organization’s vision and priorities to set the right context for partnership. But they must also be open to donors’ ideas and feedback. Donors may have innovative solutions or see opportunities from new perspectives. An open mindset and willingness to say “yes” can lead to exciting new possibilities.

Partnership is a journey, not a single ask or interaction.

By listening, developing meaningful engagement, and maintaining open communication, fundraisers can build trust and help donors fully invest in their mission. The result is a shared sense of ownership and more profound, longer-lasting impact. Co-creation transforms donors from prospects into true partners in purpose and mission.

View the full recording of this session in ourĀ Resource Library.

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