Topic 2: Donor mapping and alignment

Donor mapping is a strategic process that involves categorising and prioritising donors based on their alignment with your organisation’s mission, objectives, and programmatic activities. In this section, we will explore the importance of donor mapping and provide guidance on how to effectively assess and engage with selected donors.

Steps of the donor mapping process

Step 1: Selecting donors:

The first step in donor mapping is selecting donors that align closely with your organisation’s goals and objectives. Choose donors whose funding priorities, geographical focus, and thematic areas of interest resonate with your organisation’s mission and programmatic activities. For example, if your organisation works in healthcare in East Africa, you may prioritise donors who have a history of funding health projects in the region, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Step 2: Placing donors on the map:

Once you have selected your donors, place them on the donor map based on their level of relevance and priority to your organisation. Consider factors such as the donor’s mission, financial capacity, eligibility criteria, and alignment with your organisation’s projects and funding needs. Donors can be categorised into tiers based on their level of alignment and importance to your organisation, with Tier 1 representing the most relevant and high-priority donors.

Step 3: Assessing donor relevance: 

Evaluate each selected donor’s relevance to your organisation, program, and objectives using a comprehensive set of criteria. This assessment should include factors such as the donor’s sectors of activity, eligibility requirements, financial capacity, and proximity to your organisation’s geographical focus areas. Determine the extent to which each donor aligns with your organisation’s funding priorities and strategic objectives, assigning a score based on their level of alignment.

Step 4: Presenting your plan of engagement:

Once you have assessed the relevance of your selected donors, develop a plan of engagement to effectively interact with each donor. Tailor your engagement strategy to the specific preferences and requirements of each donor, taking into account factors such as their application procedures, contact persons, and preferred communication channels. Clearly outline your organisation’s projects, funding needs, and expected outcomes to demonstrate alignment with the donor’s priorities and objectives.

How to get donor mapping right?

In this video, you will be guided through the intricate world of donor mapping, a vital strategy for NGOs seeking sustainable funding. The team will provide insight into the fundamentals of NGO funding and the critical role of donor maps, while also sharing practical tips for creating, maintaining, and leveraging donor relationships. From identifying funding prospects to crafting winning proposals, this webinar equips NGOs with the essential tools and knowledge to navigate the complex funding landscape effectively. Whether you’re a seasoned NGO professional or new to the nonprofit sector, this video offers valuable guidance to maximise your organisation’s fundraising potential. Watch the video below to learn more.

Additional resource

Download this additional resource for more information.

Information gathering activity

As organisations seek funding for projects or initiatives, understanding the funding landscape and available opportunities is crucial for success. For example, Devex offers a wealth of resources, including funding databases, articles, and insights, making it an invaluable tool for researchers and development practitioners alike.

Through this activity, we will navigate Devex’s ‘Funding’ section, select a country of interest, and explore the wealth of information available. By delving into funding opportunities, articles, and resources, we aim to gain insights that can inform our fundraising strategies and enhance our understanding of the funding environment in our chosen country.

So, let’s log on to Devex, dive into the ‘Funding’ section, and embark on a journey of discovery as we uncover valuable insights and opportunities to support our organisation’s mission and objectives.


  • Log on to Devex: Open your web browser and navigate to the Devex website (
  • Go to ‘Funding’: Once you’re on the Devex homepage, locate the “Funding” tab in the top menu bar. Click on it to access the funding section of the website.
  • Select a country: In the funding section, you’ll find a search bar or filters that allow you to refine your search by country. Choose the country you’re interested in by typing its name into the search bar or selecting it from the available options.
  • Get reading: After selecting the country, you’ll be presented with a list of funding opportunities, articles, and resources related to that country. Take some time to explore the available information, including funding opportunities from various donors, articles discussing funding trends and priorities, and resources for accessing funding.
  • Comment on available information: As you read through the information on Devex, take note of any relevant insights, funding opportunities, or trends that may be of interest to your organisation or project. Consider commenting on the information you find, sharing your thoughts or observations with others in your team or community.

By following these instructions, you’ll be able to conduct a focused research activity on Devex to gather valuable information and insights related to funding opportunities in a specific country.

Donor mapping in practice

Now that you’ve had a chance to explore funding opportunities and insights on Devex, let’s dive deeper into understanding potential donors for your organisation. In the following activity, we’ll guide you through the process of identifying and researching two donors you haven’t previously worked with. This will involve conducting an in-depth search about each donor and completing a donor map with relevant information and assessments of their relevance to your organisation. Let’s get started!

Activity: Creating a Donor Map

Step 1: Identify 2 donors you have not previously worked with.

Step 2: Conduct an in-depth search about each of these donors.

Step 3: Complete the donor map with the information and your assessment of relevance to your organisation. Students will need to use the template provided to complete the activity.

Use the template provided to create your donor map.