After you send your year-end appeal, you’ll most likely gain some brand new donors, which is good news. The bad news is over 70% of these first-time donors won’t make a second gift.
Don’t let that happen to you. Nonprofit organizations don’t spend enough time trying to keep their current donors. You want to pay attention to your retention because it’s easier and less expensive to keep your current donors rather than finding new ones.
As you work on your year-end appeal, put together a welcome plan and be ready to shower your new donors with love as soon as their gifts come in.
Give your new donors an extra special thank you
Research by fundraising expert Penelope Burk states that first-time donors who receive a thank you call are more likely to donate again and give at a higher level the next year. Get a group of board members, staff (especially your executive director), and volunteers to call your new donors, or send them a handwritten thank you card.
If you can’t make phone calls or send a handwritten note, send a thank you letter that specifically recognizes that someone is a new donor.
*Make sure these are actually new donors. A good database will help you avoid any embarrassment.*
Send a welcome package
A week or two after the initial thank you, send 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 message and a brochure or fact sheet.
Send seperate welcome packets to one-time donors and new monthly donors. You could invite new one-time donors to become monthly donors. For monthly donors, send different messages to brand new donors and existing donors who’ve become monthly donors.
Get to know your new donors
Get to know your new donors better. Include a short survey with your welcome packet to find out how they heard about you, what issues are important to them, and if they prefer print or electronic communication. You could also direct 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.
Give your donors the gift of appreciation
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. You want donors who care about your work, not getting a free coffee mug.
Instead of spending your resources securing premiums, invest in creating thank you cards or making a welcome video.
What donors really want from you is to know how they’re helping you make a difference.
Stay in touch
Don’t let the welcome packet be the last time your donors hear from you until your next appeal. Use a communications calendar to help you plan to stay in touch throughout the year.
Donors stop giving for a variety of reasons, some of which you can’t control. One that you can control is poor or nonexistant communication. Making your new donors feel welcome and staying in touch throughout the year will help you keep your donors.
Here is more information on the importance of treating new donors well.