Simple Donor Maps

For anything in your ministry to be successful, you need to create a plan. This is just as true with increasing donations as it is anywhere else. In order to attract first-time donors and then turn them into repeat givers, you need to plan out their entire experience with a donor journey map that focuses on specific donor types.

While the basic foundation of these maps are the same regardless of donor type, the steps in each map must be built around specific personas (i.e. avatars, types). This is because the journey map will be based upon a donor’s motivations, reactions and overall behavior. Take a look at the following example of an effective donor journey map and then use the template to make one of your own.

Keep in mind that your donors’ journeys may be different. Always have the right tools in place, but keep track of giving behavior so you can update and improve your donor journey map over time.

Simple Donor Journey Map (Example)


Donors must first become aware that a need exists. This can be done in a number of ways. Mentioning a specific need during worship, adding the information to bulletins, posting about the need on social media, or simply having a page devoted to this need on your website can all create awareness of why you need congregants to give.


Simply making donors aware that a need exists isn’t enough. You need to inspire them to give, and this can be done through meaningful stories and powerful messaging. You want to reach people on an emotional level. Let them know that you’re telling a story and that they play a huge part in that story. Make it personal for them.


Once inspired, donors will consider whether they should give to your ministry. There’s plenty of other ways they could contribute to causes that matter to them, so you need to tell them why your church deserves their contribution. Make sure your messaging aligns with the values of each donor type and ensure they know where their money is going.

1st Gift

Once a congregant contributes for the first time, they enter a sort of “honeymoon phase.” They feel good about what they’ve done, and it’s your job to nurture this feeling. Show appreciation multiple times, and be direct about how their gift is helping. Show donors that real change is happening because of them.

Repeat Giver

Through appropriate stewardship and the availability of tools that make giving easier, you can increase the chance of your donor reaching the stage of repeat giving. This occurs when they’ve become fully committed to making a change. You’ve integrated the donor into your story at this point, and they’re happy to continue their part of that narrative.


Once a donor is committed to a cause, they can easily be converted into evangelizers. This occurs when they take active steps with others to further your goals. This could be anything from sharing a post on social media to requesting donations for the church in lieu of birthday gifts.

Simple Donor Journey Map


Hears about the homeless mission during church service.

Recognizes a local need exists that the church is trying to fill.

Receives an email announcing church will soon create a soup kitchen.

Visits website and sees "Feeding the Homeless" link under "Missions" Tab.


Receives email featuring video testimonial from a member who was once homeless.

Sees social media posts detailing how many meals can be purchased with donations of $10, $25, $50, etc.

Sees before-and-after photos on the website of homeless shelter repairs or progress pictures of homes being built.

An announcement during service that volunteers are needed for the soup kitchen.


Views a video pinned to the top of the church's Facebook page that details how much the ministry has done for local homeless individuals.

Emails explain how donors can give directly to the homeless ministry and not worry about funds being used elsewhere.

Emails include video explaining how the church's values drive their work with the homeless - and thus lines up with the donor's values.

1st Gift

Donor receives direct request - via email, social media or another method - for a donation catered to their donor avatar (e.g. don't ask high-income congregants for a $10 donation).

Donor encounters "ask" via calls to action in emails, social media, on specific web pages, targeted donation pages, and more.

"Thank you" page pops up after donation and email thanking the donor is sent immediately. Physical "thank you" cards for first-time donors can also create continued commitment.

Repeat Giver

An offer to sign up for automated contributions is immediate after the first gift.

Follow-up emails are sent detailing how a contribution has helped and letting donors know the need is consistent.

Social media posts thank contributors and show them real-world results of what's getting done.

Donor signs up for automatic payments or gives consistently.


Donor is excited about what their gift has done. Post a video to social media detailing completed projects and ask followers to "share."

Send email requesting that the donor asks their friends for canned food donations for the food pantry.

Ask donors to tag the church's social media pages in posts about their ministry-involved volunteer activities.