How To Use Donor Testimonies In Fundraising

Tina Jepson
Tina Jepson

Storytelling is oftentimes stressed in the nonprofit and fundraising worlds. After all, nothing has the ability to motivate donors to give, as well as get donors involved more than a well-written and emotional story.

But, what if you added something a little different to your storytelling repertoire?

Instead of using client-centered stories to appeal to your donors, try supplementing your marketing materials with donor testimonies.

What Is A Donor Testimony?

A donor testimonial is an attributable quote from your donor that details their experience with your nonprofit or cause. The content of the quote can range from a blurb about their donation, to why they chose to give or how they have gotten involved with your organization on a deeper level after donating.

Each testimony should include the donor’s name and other pertinent information such as job title, age, or the length of time that person has been connected with your organization.

Here is a great example by World Help:

World Help Sponsor Testimonies

Also, it never hurts to add a headshot if the testimony will be featured online or in a pamphlet.

Where Can Donor Testimonials Be Used?

Donor testimonials can be used in many different ways according to your organization’s marketing needs.

  • Marketing Materials: Try adding strategically-placed testimonials throughout your pamphlets, donor guides, annual reports, pledge forms, etc. These quotes can help motivate your donors and other contacts to continue to give, stay involved, and allow them to feel as though they are part of a larger network of committed donors.
  • Social Media: Use shortened testimonials on Facebook posts and Twitter. Add headshots or other photos as appropriate to put a face to the quote.
  • Newsletters: Testimonials can be scattered throughout email and direct mail newsletters in order to highlight donor engagement experiences.
  • Fundraising Pages: If you are running a campaign that relies on individual fundraising websites, ask your fundraisers to add an impactful quote detailing why they decided to get involved with the cause.

What Should You Ask Of Your Donors?

Don’t fall into the trap of just collecting basic or unfocused donor testimonials. Instead, create a plan as to how you want to use the testimonials. That way, you’ll know what type of responses you need.

For example, you don’t want to add a donor testimonials about their experience giving a major gift when you are trying to encourage donors to give to a small fundraising campaign.

To get the right quotes to support your content, you have to ask the right questions.

First, single out a handful of donors and then ask them to write town about three sentences worth of content to answer any one of these specific questions:

  • Why were you motivated to donate to this organization?
  • What types of activities/programming keep you involved with us?
  • How has your experience with this organization benefited you?
  • How has your experience with this organization benefited your community?
  • What value do you see in this organization?
  • What are your favorite aspects of this organization? Why?

By focusing on specific questions, you’ll receive specific answers. After all, you don’t want to end up with a bunch of quotes with no purpose.

For example the quote, “Donating to the ______ nonprofit feels great. I love the work they do,” doesn’t provide quote the ‘oomph’ that you need.

However, asking your donor why they were motivated to donate to your organization may leave you with an answer such as this one:

“Every time I provide a donation to _____, I know that I am making an impact in our community. Each gift I give goes directly to providing a nourishing meal to children dealing with food insecurity.”

Here is an example of an entire page of donor testimonials from the Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation website:

BBBS Foundation Donor Testimony

And one more from Autism Speaks:

Autism Speaks Donor TestimonyBoth of these examples feature a solid, informative quote, as well as information about the donor.

How Can This Information Impact Other Donors?

By now, you may have an idea about what donor testimonials are, where they can be used, and the right questions to ask your donors to get the information you need to supplement your marketing materials.

But, will this information have an impact on your donors?

If you were strategic in your questioning and placement, it very well should!

Here are a few reasons why you’ll get the attention of your readers with a good testimonial.


First, your donors will appreciate reading these testimonials because donors and all of your organization’s other contacts are likely to enjoy hearing about the impact of their dollars (as well as time and experience) from their peers.

It takes hard work and a team effort to create change in the world ( and especially in the nonprofit world), and donors love to feel like they are part of a broad group of people who are committed to the cause.

Testimonials create a unique sense of teamwork that is bound to appeal to your networks.

Testimonials create a unique sense of teamwork that is bound to appeal to your networks …” tweet this

Learning Something New

Your donors may get the chance to learn something new about your organization with a donor testimonial.

When reaching out for quotes, be sure to talk to your donors that aren’t just giving, but they are actively involved in engagement activities such as volunteering, networking, individual fundraising, and advocacy.

Therefore, the right quote may very well convince someone to take a leap and join one of your advisory boards or volunteer groups.

Build Trust

As humans, we are inherently looking for ways to confirm that we are making good, sound decisions. That’s why fundraising methods like peer-to-peer fundraising are so successful; we participate because the organization/cause is being ‘vouched for’ by people we know.

This is the same reasoning behind donor testimonials. Your donors will appreciate that others are reaffirming their relationship with your organization.

“Your donors will appreciate that others are reaffirming their relationship with your organization…” tweet this

It Feels Good

We all know that donating is good for the soul, but sometimes it is hard to remember that when you’ve been out of touch with the world of philanthropy for some time.

If it has been a while since you last ran a campaign, or even if you just want to remind people how amazing it feels to donate to a worthwhile cause, use a donor testimonial to bring back those warm and fuzzy feelings.


Donor testimonials are a phenomenal way to get readers of your marketing information, social media followers and email/direct mail subscribers to feel important and more connected to your organization. By learning the benefits of giving from some of your most involved current donors, future donors will be given plenty of reason to give and stay engaged.

If you are looking for a great way to use the positive experiences of your current donors to encourage the growth of your donor base and increase retention, try donor testimonials.

“Use the positive experiences of your current donors to encourage the growth of your donor base…” tweet this

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