DonorPath: Leveling the Fundraising Playing Field for Resource-Stretched Nonprofits

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DonorPath is bringing data visualization and expert consultants to nonprofit fundraisers.

fundraising nonprofit expert software

DonorPath helps nonprofits leverage data, existing software and time with tools and community to match nonprofits with the right expert to coach nonprofits to more effective fundraising.

What separates the Haves from the Have-Nots is a better understanding of, and being able to act on, the data you already have – that’s why we created DonorPath.

For a year, Chicago-based DonorPath has quietly refined ways to help small nonprofit organizations address one of the biggest challenges in the sector: fundraising. Now they are sharing that technology and expertise with a growing community of nonprofits, experts, funders and software providers.

“Intelligence is the greatest equalizer,” shared DonorPath Founder Brian Lauterbach. “And that equalizer is needed most in the nonprofit sector where there’s a ‘28 percent-syndrome,’ meaning 28 percent of the nonprofits receive nearly 80 percent of the donations.”

The Haves vs. The Have-Nots
Currently, there are more than 1.2 million nonprofits that raise $219 billion collectively (a 40-year average). However, the funds are not proportionately donated. Only 28 percent of nonprofit organizations raise 77 percent of funds – leaving more than two-thirds of nonprofits struggling to split the remaining 23 percent of funds.

So, what’s the difference between what the 28 percenters are doing and the rest of the nonprofit industry?

“What separates the Haves from the Have-Nots is a better understanding of, and being able to act on, the data you already have – that’s why we created DonorPath,” Lauterbach said.

Learning first-hand about the intelligence gap facing development officers at small to midsize organizations, Lauterbach shared that when he was a 24-year-old development director, he nearly lost his job while blindly trying to replicate the tools used for disaster relief fundraising for a performing arts organization.

“Not only was I green and impulsive, I didn’t have a way to use my organization’s own fundraising data to show what was happening and why. If DonorPath had existed years ago, I would have saved myself a lot of trouble and time in the hot seat.”

Leveling The Playing Field
Lauterbach has served nonprofits ranging from a one-person organization, to the large grant maker, to the fundraising consultant. His experiences – even the missteps and miscalculations – were the inspiration to develop DonorPath.

DonorPath is an online platform that aggregates fundraising data – even if just from spreadsheets – into a simple dashboard displaying goals and results. It also creates automated reports for staff and board, contains a fundraising resource library and has a built-in wealth screening for prospect research.

The data findings are shared with a fundraising expert who is matched to each charity. The nonprofit-expert pairs meet each week by video, providing nonprofit leaders with the hard facts, clarity, and direction needed to raise more money from their existing donors and potential supporters.

“DonorPath democratizes the data and brings in best-in-class consultants – a luxury for many small nonprofits – at a fraction of the cost previously available,” shared Sean Knierim, chief of staff at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and DonorPath board member.

“It allows nonprofits to set a sustainable path forward while eliminating the guesswork that often results in wasted time and resources – and frustrated stakeholders.”

One Nonprofit’s Catalytic Moment
When the Rock on Kids program began using DonorPath, the organization had a gap between funding sources – one special event dominated nearly 70 percent of their annual giving.

Rock for Kids’ Executive Director Maria Mowbray shared, “DonorPath gave me the data in a manner that made the board take notice. That was the catalytic moment and since, we have developed a more sustainable, equally distributed approach to fundraising.”

Mowbray went onto say that she is now able to focus her attention on donor cultivation, thanks to DonorPath’s seamless and integrated system.

Chicago-based Audience Architects, whose mission is to advocate for more than 100 dance organizations throughout the region, recently partnered with DonorPath to help all of their member-organizations with the Fall Readiness Project. For the next 75 days, DonorPath will help each dance organization leverage extra time in the summer to prepare them to establish solid plans and framework to raise more money and sell more tickets.

The Guided Growth Summit
DonorPath is hosting a Guided Growth Summit on Wednesday, June 5 in Chicago at the Chicago Cultural Center. The Summit, expected to draw 200 nonprofits, will focus on solutions for the challenges facing small to mid-size nonprofit development professionals.

Leaders from the MacArthur Foundation, Taproot Foundation, Audience Architects, the Lumity Foundation and the Chicago Art and Business Council will lead a town hall discussion on building a smaller nonprofit’s fundraising capacity. DonorPath professionals will offer one-on-one sessions with fundraising experts to develop initial custom strategies for participating organization.

For more information on the Guided Growth Summit, visit

Additional Partners Advancing the Cause

  • The DonorPath Foundation was created to defray the cost to the organizations and compensate the experts delivering their analysis and recommendations via the platform.
  • DonorPath has partnered with the Taproot Foundation to help train the fundraising experts who can act as coaches for the DonorPath network of nonprofits.

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Erica Wassinger
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