One of your year-end fundraising goals may be to get new donors. That’s fine, but a better goal is to keep these donors. The retention rate for new donors is a dismal 23%. Put simply, over ¾’s of your new donors won’t donate again.
There are many reason donors don’t give a second gift – some you can control, some you can’t. One of the biggest reasons is poor or nonexistent donor communication. This is easy to fix, and if you put some time and effort into it, you can rise above other organizations who seem to like to ignore their donors.
Show some #donorlove by putting together a welcome plan for your new donors.
Start off with an extra special thank you
Don’t send your new donors that tired old, generic thank you letter that doesn’t acknowledge that they’re new donors. You have to do more. Take Thanking Your Donors to the Next Level
Research by fundraising expert Penelope Burk says 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 together 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 card, send a thank you letter that specifically recognizes that someone is a new donor. You could also add a handwritten note to a thank you letter welcoming your new donor.
*Make sure these are actually new donors. A good database will help you avoid any embarrassment.*
Next, 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 separate welcome packages to one-time donors and 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.
Who are your new donors?
Get to know your new donors better. Include a short survey with your welcome package 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 and impact
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 tote bag.
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 feel appreciated and know how they’re helping you make a difference.
This is a year-round effort
Don’t let the welcome package 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.
The biggest hurdle you’ll face in donor giving is getting a second gift. Once donors make a second gift, they’re more likely to keep giving, although not always. Making your new donors feel welcome and staying in touch throughout the year will help you keep your donors for a long time.
Here’s more information on the importance of treating new donors well.
How to Get First Time Donors to Give Again