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Our Story



Donor Detectives was founded in 2013 to revitalize nonprofit acquisition programs with innovative and data driven strategies. We (the founders), Madlen and Keghan have known each other for many, many years professionally and personally. Our experiences and expertise complement each other. We have been instrumental in acquiring millions of donors for nonprofits while working as colleagues in a big agency environment.

Having worked for many decades with non-profits, a couple of learning’s across multiple clients and programs really stood out for us:

  • There is marketing and then there is marketing that is specialized in acquisition of qualified donors.
  • Strategic Plan execution is just as important as the development and design of the strategy itself.
  • Marketing goals need to be geared to increase response and donations and should be media channel agnostic that is not branding, awareness or PR, although those are convenient benefits in themselves.

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A lot more can be done for nonprofits with growing needs and limited budgets. And it can be achieved without piecemeal incremental advances. Sounds implausible? Not really. We believe that the best way to predict the future is to create it! As our team has grown, each team member has brought her or his own set of unique skills to the table. However, we still share the same ethos that defines Donor Detectives.

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One Simple Goal



We care about what you and your donors care about most. Our goal is to make the acquisition process easier for our clients so that they can focus on what’s important – their philanthropic cause. Donor Detectives is on a mission to enable nonprofits to continue their efforts in our communities for a long time to come.
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Your Team

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The Donor Detectives team is comprised of savvy entrepreneurs and industry experts, bringing decades of experience to a young company. We cultivate a strong work culture and work tirelessly to help our clients scale, grow and succeed.

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Our Approach


[/vc_column_text]The process of donor acquisition is a sum of parts (Investigate, Strategize, Execute and Analyze) that is larger than the actual donor acquisition.
We Investigate our client’s current state and performance. We also spend an inordinate amount of time to Analyze and constantly strive for strategies that improve results. Optimizing every marketing dollar spent means doing a lot more within budget constraints; and this is achieved through prescriptive and actionable results based insights. Strategize to build your organization’s vision and achieve the next level in its evolution. Finally, in order to deliver results, it’s vital to Execute the organization’s vision as per the design of the strategy. Learn more about our Approach through each part of the Donor Development Journey.
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Our Services



Donor Development Journey – When you care about the donors who care about your cause, you can change the world. Acquiring a new donor is only the first step in a donor’s journey. The relationship is new and needs nurturing into a life-long friendship and support. We help define the engagement strategies, cultivation, and stewardship messages and channels needed to keep these donors active and engaged. Our experienced detectives will guide you through this journey.

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We take the mystery out of finding new donors. The journey of discovery begins with the use of our proprietary software that investigates the analysis of the organization’s campaigns at all levels ranging from granular to executive. We have helped organizations move from a ‘spray and pray’ execution mode to a more ‘process and insight’ driven execution mode. Our mission is to take your programs to the next level with a holistic perspective on what is going on.

As we integrate the analysis with our acumen of managing campaigns for non-profits, the result is consolidated strategies based on campaign response data, online browsing behavior, A/B testing, lists, packages, mail dates, zip codes et al. These strategies draw on our intimate knowledge of the Donor Development Journey – acquiring a new donor to nurturing a life-long relationship of support as a major donor and/or planned giving donor. The promise of a new future begins and ends with the strength of relationships; and we help build and foster them.

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While there’s been an explosion of channels through which an organization can connect with its prospects and the existing donor base, the organization’s budget size doesn’t necessarily keep pace. How can your organization utilize resources optimally while maximizing responses? You don’t always have to spend more to get more. Putting more time into investigating the correct strategy, doing the research, and analyzing your results will maximize your payoff.
Our solutions are tailored to an organization’s unique needs – its size, its cause, the size of its donor base, the profile of the donor base among other factors. We work with each organization to understand their pain points, define strategies through our network of seasoned professionals and then deliver solutions.

Ethnic Marketing Strategies and Implementation is also a related specialty of ours where we use the ethnic group’s different cultural referents -language, traditions, celebrations, religion and any other concepts – to target and customize campaigns.

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We recognize the very important role direct mail continues to play in fundraising. Direct mail even today continues to bring in the highest number of donors and revenue. Studies have shown that people who donate to charities or nonprofits are much more likely to give their gifts online, but are also far more likely to do so in response to direct mail rather than an email. So, preserve and expand your traditional mail marketing base even as you amplify response and revenue online.

Our expertise in both national and chapter-based direct marketing helps us design specific prospecting strategies for each client. Chapter-based organizations require a highly detailed and meticulous execution plan as well. We have developed a proprietary automated software to accomplish this very important task (need for specific quantity by market, by package, by list etc.) saving time, money and effort.

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66% of Americans own at least two digital devices – smartphone, desktop/laptop computer, or tablet and 75% of Americans get online on a daily basis (of which 21% go online almost constantly and 42% go online several times a day) -– All trends point to digital marketing becoming entrenched. But the way to get donors and traction isn’t necessarily more email, more tweets and more noise.

Investigating channel preferences, capturing interest, keeping constituents engaged and optimizing message frequency are questions that most organizations are still grappling with. We lay out the roadmap for the organization to effectively leverage Digital Marketing. We partner with you to acquire prospect names, convert them to donors, and nurture your donors through the donor lifecycle.

Our proven strategies leverage a customized mix of Digital Marketing tactics to deliver the best results at key times of the year! This service line features the following Digital Programs:

  • Google Ad Grant Application/Google for Nonprofits
  • Google Ad Grant Management/Execution
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Mobile & Email Append
  • Digital Advertising
  • Website Audit/Development
  • Monthly Sustainer
  • Gift Catalog
  • List Building
  • Video Story Telling
  • SEO
  • And more!

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On the road listening to radio? Or how about the billboard positioned on the daily commute route? Through the test of time, traditional media remains the most visual unconscious impact on prospects. Finding the ideal mix of Traditional Media using the relevant integrated creative messaging to impact the ideal constituent base comes naturally to us since most of our team members started our fundraising careers with these channels. We deal with the following types of traditional media:

  • Out of Home – Static and digital billboards, transit, malls, movie theatres, and more based on the market availability.
  • Media Broadcast – Television spots, television sponsorships, radio spots, traffic sponsorships and radio-thons.
  • Alternative Media – Free-standing inserts, space ads, statement stuffers and targeted saturation

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Is your creative compelling and lifting response rates? A great creative today may not always be a great creative tomorrow and needs to be tested continually to bring in the highest return. Missing information can cause data-entry grief; and a lost message can decrease donor trust, impacting retention. We believe analysis drives the strategy which then defines the creative. It is one of the most important factors in how an organization is able to communicate the value of its service and how to tap into a donor’s interest point. Creative testing against analysis-supported controls are vital. It is an ever-changing challenge and needs to be constantly pushed to improve. Let’s collaborate and explore your creative together. Here are some ways we can help you:

  • Creative Audit – We conduct a deep dive into your full campaign creative (headlines, subject lines, response options, format, and personalization among other creative elements). Post analysis, we help define a strong compelling integrated message(s) as well as feedback on each piece.
  • Creative Review – Get fresh eyes to provide feedback and suggestions on a piece or two.
  • Creative Services – Most of our clients already have a strong creative department. If this is not the case, we have a network for you!

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