Donors Care How Nonprofits Manage Their Money
Donors Care How Nonprofits Manage Their Money

By Sarah Newman

Thought leaders have been saying for years that you can’t pull yourself up without pulling others up. Simon Sinek recently spoke about individualism within building business, saying, “We have over-indexed individualism and forgotten about cooperation. There is an entire section of the bookstore for self-help, but no section called ‘help others.’” 

Nonprofits have a tool to help donors understand how their money is going to grow past the immediate donation. That tool is the portfolio, and how managers leverage it is the craft. Donors today are savvy. They find added value in knowing how and why their money is being invested for a greater good. When a donor understands the greater vision, it propels the nonprofit toward greater growth and helps prevent donor fatigue.

Keeping community in mind, here are five things nonprofit managers should think about with a donor in mind: 

  1. Mission-based investing is on the rise. What do you do when a donor wants to dive deeper with questions regarding the organization’s portfolio, their specific donation, and a better understanding of the mission-based portfolio? 
  2. A savvy donor wants answers as to how the organization is being a good steward of their contribution. This can involve pressing questions about the investment process, portfolio fees, and investment results. You need to show the donor that their dollars are being invested wisely.
  3. High net worth donors often benefit from tax breaks, but they might not have all the knowledge on the best way to go about them. You need to work to help the donor to think about things such as establishing a charitable remainder trust (CRT). This is a win-win scenario for both the donor and the nonprofit.
  4. Donor Advised Funds (DAF) can be simple to set up, but as the saying goes: people don’t know what they don’t know. Education is also valuable here, provide seminars and webinars to potential and existing donors to help understand DAF’s better.
  5. The next generation is coming up in the workforce fast. Some nonprofits work with people who might not have been given a professional formation opportunity in the past. Mentorship takes time, but can garner a larger investment for the future by providing jobs and community opportunities people might not otherwise have.

These ideas create a deeper level of caring and pull others up among all three parties: the donor, the nonprofit, and the corporation. They create opportunities for both sides to grow in more than just making another dollar, by investing in what matters most: relationships. They provide hope for the future. 


Sarah Newman is a vice president at Innovest and is responsible for business development in the religious and nonprofit markets. Her email is snewman@innovestinc.com