I imagine many of you are beyond busy working on your year-end appeal, but if you think you can take a deep breath and relax once the letters have gone out, you can’t. Your appeal is only the first step.
In fact, what comes next is even more important, especially if you want to to keep your donors for a long time.
Do a good job of thanking your donors
In my last post, I asked Are You Thankful for Your Donors? Take a few minutes to think about this, because most of the thank you letters I see don’t reflect that.
Make your donors feel good about their donations. A handwritten note or phone call is better than a letter, but if you only have the the means to do a letter, make it sparkle. Don’t send the same old boring, generic thank you letter. Take time to write something awesome.
Create a welcome plan for your new donors
Did you know over 75% of first-time donors don’t make a second gift (according to the Fundraising Effectiveness Report)? This is horrible and we must do a better job of keeping our donors.
One way to help ensure people will give again is to create a welcome plan, which will provide you with ways to let your new donors know how much you appreciate them.
Make your current donors feel special, too
You may think your most valuable donors are the ones who give the most money, but what about the people who have supported your organization for three, five, or even ten years? These are your valuable donors.
If you’re not acknowledging a donor’s past support, you’re making a huge mistake. Imagine how you would feel if you gave to an organization for over five years and they never thank you for your long-time support.
This is why segmenting your donors and personalizing their correspondence is crucial, so is a good database to help you with this. 11 Ways To Segment Your Donors To Improve Your Fundraising
Repeat donor retention rates are 60%, which is better, but still not great. The highest retention rate comes from monthly donors, which is an impressive 90%.
I highly recommend inviting your current donors to become monthly donors, especially the ones who’ve supported you for at least two years. Making the Most of Monthly Giving
Don’t skimp on your donor communication
I know you’re swamped with your year-end appeal right now, but this is not the time to scale back on your donor communication. Continue to send your newsletter and other updates. Keep them donor-centered.
Send your donors Thanksgiving and holiday greetings, either by mail or email. Intersperse your fundraising appeals with messages in which you’re not asking for donations.
Keep it up
Your first New Year’s resolution should be to communicate with your donors more. Keep reaching out to them – at least once or twice a month. Show appreciation and update them on how they’re helping you make a difference.
Think of other ways to do something special for your donors, such as offering tours of your facility or holding an open house.
You want to keep your donors for a long time and making them feel good about supporting your organization will help with this.