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Strategies to Engage Both Individual and Institutional Donors

Updated: Jul 4

Customer Journeys for All

Shifts in national donor budgets are pushing organizations to look more globally for funding. Reaching a global audience has become easier thanks to the digital world. However, most organizations' websites are built to focus on the individual donor and not the institutional donor. This problem is compounded by the fact that many communication professionals are trained in the B2C market while the B2B market has traditionally been handled through business development and technical parts of the organization. Imagine wanting to cultivate a relationship with a new foundation point person. You briefly meet them, and if the conversation was enticing enough, they return to their office and check out your website, only to feel alienated by the lack of a customer journey for them.

What is B2B and B2C Marketing Anyway?

Let's clarify some terminology. In marketing, a B2B customer refers to institutional donors for nonprofits, whereas B2C focuses on individual donors. The easy answer to shifting your website’s focus is to ensure you have clear customer journeys for each client type. But what does a good customer journey look like?

Examples of Nonprofit Websites with Good Customer Journeys

B2B Focus: Charity: Water effectively engages corporate partners by showcasing impactful corporate sponsorship stories, providing clear options for corporate giving, and offering resources that help businesses understand the benefits of partnering with them. Their "For Companies" page is tailored to address the needs of business stakeholders. (Also, we have to love their dropdown menus!)

B2C Focus: For individual donors, the site provides compelling storytelling through videos and personal stories, easy-to-navigate donation pages, and transparent reporting on how donations are used. This builds trust and encourages individual giving.

B2B Focus: The website includes specific sections for corporate partnerships, volunteer opportunities for companies, and case studies showcasing successful corporate collaborations. This approach highlights the mutual benefits of engaging with Habitat for Humanity.

B2C Focus: For individual supporters, Habitat for Humanity offers clear calls to action for donations, volunteer opportunities, and ways to get involved. The user journey is designed to be straightforward, guiding individuals from awareness to action seamlessly.

B2B Focus: WWF’s site features detailed information on corporate partnerships, sustainability initiatives, and ways businesses can support environmental causes. They provide comprehensive resources and reports that appeal to corporate decision-makers. There is also a clear customer journey for institutional donors.

B2C Focus: For individual donors and supporters, WWF uses vivid imagery and compelling content to draw visitors in (I mean, look at the beauty of that site!). They offer various ways to contribute, including adoptions, memberships, and straightforward donation options, ensuring an engaging experience for all visitors.

B2B Customer Journey: Justdiggit engages with businesses through collaborative environmental projects that align with corporate sustainability goals. Companies are recognized as partners and get visibility in Justdiggit’s campaigns, enhancing their corporate image. They provide comprehensive reports that detail the environmental and social impact of corporate contributions, which helps businesses in their CSR reporting. Additionally, institutional donors can explore the "How We Work" section, which provides in-depth information on the technical aspects of Justdiggit's initiatives, giving them a clear understanding of the methodologies and impact of their work.

B2C Customer Journey: Justdiggit uses interactive elements like virtual tours and detailed project descriptions to engage individual donors. They provide extensive educational content on the importance of land restoration, which informs and motivates individual supporters. Multiple ways to support, including direct donations and crowdfunding campaigns, are easily accessible to individuals.

Why These Examples Work

Emotional Engagement

Both organizations use compelling storytelling to connect emotionally with their audience.


They maintain high levels of transparency through detailed reports and project updates, which builds trust with both B2B and B2C audiences.

Ease of Contribution

User-friendly donation processes ensure that both corporate and individual donors can contribute effortlessly.

Recognition and Visibility

Corporate partners are given recognition and visibility, aligning their brand with the nonprofit’s mission.

Impact Demonstration

Institutional donors, like individual donors, need to see the impact of their contributions. Showcasing the tangible results of donations builds confidence and trust in the organization.

Best Practices for Optimizing Nonprofit Customer Journeys

Mapping the Customer Journey

Identify Touchpoints: For both B2B and B2C audiences, identify all the touchpoints where users interact with your nonprofit. This includes website visits, social media interactions, email communications, and more.

Tailored Content: Provide content that addresses the specific needs and pain points of each audience. For B2B, this might include detailed reports, case studies, and partnership opportunities. For B2C, focus on emotional storytelling, transparency, and easy donation processes.

Segmentation and Personalization

Donor Mapping: Instead of segmenting the business audience, organizations should conduct donor mapping to understand donor priorities. This process involves analyzing donor focus areas and finding common threads that resonate with both institutional and individual donors.

Personalization: Once the mapping is done, personalize communications and website experiences to increase engagement and retention. Tailor content to reflect the priorities identified in the donor mapping.

User Experience (UX) Design

Simplified Navigation: Ensure that your website’s navigation is intuitive and straightforward, allowing users to easily find the information they need. For B2B users, this might mean a dedicated section for corporate giving. For B2C, ensure that donation buttons and calls to action are prominently displayed.

Responsive Design: Make sure your website is mobile-friendly, as many users will access it from various devices.

Data-Driven Decisions

Analytics: Use tools like Google Analytics to track user behavior on your website. Understand where users drop off in their journey and optimize those areas to reduce friction.

Feedback: Collect feedback through surveys and user testing to understand the needs and challenges of both B2B and B2C users. Use this feedback to continuously improve the user experience.


By understanding the distinct journeys of B2B and B2C users and optimizing your website accordingly, your nonprofit can enhance engagement, build stronger relationships, and ultimately drive more impact through your digital presence.


  1. What is the difference between B2B and B2C donors? B2B donors are institutional donors, such as corporations and foundations, while B2C donors are individual contributors.

  2. Why is it important to have separate customer journeys for B2B and B2C? Each type of donor has different needs and motivations. Tailoring the journey ensures both types of donors find the information and engagement they need.

  3. How can storytelling enhance donor engagement? Storytelling creates an emotional connection, making donors feel more invested in the cause and motivated to contribute.

  4. What are some key elements of a user-friendly donation process? Clear calls to action, simple forms, multiple payment options, and transparency about how donations will be used.

  5. How can nonprofits build trust with donors online? Through transparency, sharing impact reports, showcasing testimonials, and maintaining a professional and informative website.

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