Before your next big appeal, make a point to send your first-time donors a short thank you email, postcard, or note card in which you shower them with appreciation and give a specific example of how their support is helping you make difference.
Of course, you should continue to stay connected to all your supporters by showing gratitude and sharing accomplishments.
Create a welcome plan
Your first step after you receive a donation is to thank your donors within 48 hours, preferably with a handwritten note or phone call. Don’t send a boring, generic thank you letter. Take time to create an awesome thank you. Is it Time For an Extreme Thank You Makeover?
According to fundraising expert Roger Craver, thank you calls increase retention rates for first-time donors by 25%. Get a group of board members and other enthusiastic volunteers to call your new donors, or send them a handwritten thank you card.
*Make sure these are actually new donors. A good database will help you avoid any snafus.*
A week or two after the initial thank you, send out a welcome package. You can do this by mail, email, or a combination of both.
Welcome your new donors. Thank them again and show them other ways they can connect with you. Invite them to subscribe to your newsletter and join you on social media.
Your welcome package can include a warm introductory letter and a brochure or fact sheet. You could also guide people to your website for more information about your organization.
Be careful about how much information you send. Donors want to feel welcome not overwhelmed.
I don’t recommend sending unsolicited swag. You could offer your new donors a gift and they can let you know if they want to receive it, but it’s not necessary.
What donors really want from you is to know how they are helping you make a difference.
They could be event attendees, volunteers, or newsletter subscribers. If you know, refer to that in your thank you letter. If not, send a short survey with your welcome package and ask, “How did you hear about us?”
Another question to ask is whether your donors prefer print or electronic communication. Short surveys are also a good way to connect throughout the year. The more you know about your donors the easier it will be to communicate with them.
Keep spreading the love
Keep reaching out your donors – at least once or twice a month. Show appreciation and update them on your success.
Also, think of other ways to do something special for your new donors. You could offer tours of your facility or hold an open house.
A huge factor in donor retention is a good donor relations plan that you will carry out regularly as long as your donors support you, which hopefully will be for many years.
Let’s keep working on bringing up those retention rates.
Photo by Gideon Tsang https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode