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How to Nurture New Donors to Give Again

building community support individual giving relationship building Dec 07, 2021

Congratulations! You just received a donation from a new donor! How do you retain and cultivate that donor so they make a second gift?

The first thing you do is acknowledge and thank them. Then, to solidify the relationship, send them an automated series of welcome emails. A good welcome sequence will make the donor the hero in meeting your nonprofit’s mission and reinforce your new donors’ perceptions that your agency was the right choice to give to. And it will create a desire to advance your agency’s mission even farther.

The Acknowledgement

When a donor makes an online donation, the acknowledgement email is sent immediately after the donation is made. It should communicate appreciation, confirm receipt of the donation, and tell donors what to expect on their credit card statements.

When a check is sent in, the acknowledgement is combined into the personal thank you.

The Personal Thank You

The personal thank you letter should be sent within 48 business hours of when the donation is received. It is personalized for each donor. Written in a warm and friendly tone, the personal thank you tells the donor how their donation will be used, not in terms of how the gift impacts your agency, but how the gift impacts the community issue the donor cares about. There’s a huge difference. For example, don’t talk about program growth and how many more people your organization can serve. Instead, speak to the increased change in the human condition the donation makes possible. Make the donor the hero of your cause. Let them feel an important part of making a huge difference, no matter what size the donation. 

The Welcome to the Family

Two to three days after you send the personal thank you, send a welcome to the family email. The purpose of this communication is to make the donor feel like they belong to a select group, as well as let them know someone is always as the ready to meet their needs. 

Tell the donor who’s who in the agency and what you can expect from them. Give donors the information of who to contact if they have any questions or would like further information. Be deliberate about this. You don’t want to confuse them by having more than one point of contact. Nor do you want to give them the general reception line, having them figure out who they want to talk to. Make it as easy as possible for the donor to interact with your organization so they find linking with you an experience they want to repeat.

Talk about the great things they will accomplish as part of the team. Again, not in terms of agency or program growth, but in terms of mission impact and growth.

If the donor prefers direct mail, send them a welcome packet that includes a personalized letter and agency materials that communicate the same information as your welcome to the family email.

The Impact Confirmation Story  

About three weeks after you send the welcome to the family email or mail package, share a brief story outlining the results their gift is achieving. Make it a casual notice, like ‘just wanted to let you know what you’ve been up to’. Be brief and include a picture.

The How to Get More Involved

About two weeks after you send the impact story, send a communication about ways they can get more involved and promote even more mission. Tell them how they can advocate, volunteer, or further support your organization. For example, you may want to invite them to a community event you are sponsoring or for a tour of your programs. Your aim is to get them actively involved in implementing the mission or your agency, through whatever means they feel comfortable. Some donors will make a second donation at this point. 

The Second Ask

About two weeks after your invitation to get more involved, make a second monetary ask. Research has shown that about 6-8 weeks after receiving the first donation is an ideal time to ask for a second donation. No, you are not being greedy. Nor intrusive. Because you’re not asking for money. You’ve should the donor the very real impact of their first donation and how they can be involved in making a bigger impact. Of course, if a donor has already made the second donation, you don’t ask for it again.     

Next Steps

Let’s talk about getting donors to give that second and subsequent gift to your nonprofit and what your next steps are. I invite you to schedule a complimentary, thirty-minute strategy session with me. During our time together, we’ll clarify the issues your nonprofit is facing, explore possible solutions, and develop a plan of action.

I look forward to speaking with you!

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