The Most Forgotten Fundraising Step

In this pandemic, these donors saw a need and responded. You, in turn, need to nurture these donors and ensure they are connected to your cause so they can be retained as a donor.

If your organization is one of those who are surviving and in some cases thriving then you understand the importance of long-term donors. Those who stick with you in the hard times when you need them the most.

So, how do you nurture your donors?

Start with a special thank you

Don’t simply rely on an automated response email. Have a board member call the donor to say thank you or send a handwritten note to them. You can even record a video thank you that is emailed or texted to the donor.

This will set your organization apart from the pack.

65% of first-time donors don’t make a second gift. That’s what Penelope Burk’s donor-centered research tells us. Donors want something quite simple: a prompt, meaningful thank you letter and communication on how their money was used. That’s it! 85% of donors say that would convince them to make the second gift.

Send a first-time donor packet

A couple of weeks after the initial thank you call or handwritten note send them a welcome package.

Welcome them to your nonprofit family. Thank them again in a personalized letter that has more “you” than “we.” The goal is to make the donor the hero. Share with them a one-page fact sheet about your organization, your most recent newsletter, a business card, and a small token gift. Do not include a swag gift like a water bottle, calendar, or anything that seems commercial. Make the gift something that was handmade by a client or something related to the mission. Finally, include a call to action like sign up for our newsletter or follow us on social media. Do not ask for money but you can include a reply envelope for future gifts.

Don’t forget about your current donors

Make sure you are also recognizing and thanking your current donors. The goal is to retain your donors. It is much harder and more costly to build a new relationship than it is to maintain the existing relationships.

Donors have a choice about where they give their money. They are not obligated to give their hard-earned dollars to your organization. Make sure you thank them properly so you can receive a second, third, and fourth gift and even perhaps a legacy gift.

Continue saying thank you throughout the year

You need to have an ongoing plan to communicate with your donors. At a minimum, you should be sending a monthly e-newsletter that shares your nonprofit impact stories. Based on your donor’s preferences you may also want to send a hard copy newsletter.

At least once a year send something by mail. It’s more personal and your donors are more likely to see it.

Donors like to see mid-year reports and annual reports that show the impact of their gifts.

Don’t forget your top donors

For your top donors, in addition to the above actions, you should also be sending holiday postcards for Easter, Valentine, and Thanksgiving, etc. For Christmas send them a card and hand-deliver a Christmas gift. The gift should be handmade by your clients, if possible. Again, do not gift swag. It needs to be a gift that is connected to the mission. Also, make sure your board calls and thank your top donors at least once a year.

The goal is to retain your donors by having a donor-centered plan to say thank you. If you are stuck on ideas download the Ebook 26 Clever and Easy Ways to Thank Your Donors from my VIP Resource Library.

I hope this helps. I’d love to hear from you on how you are saying thank you to your donors. Sharing is Caring.

Sample board development, marketing, and resource development documents can be found in the VIP Resource Library. You can subscribe to my blog or sign up for the weekly newsletter to get the password to the VIP Resource Library by clicking here.

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2 thoughts on “The Most Forgotten Fundraising Step

  1. 4giving Fundraising’s Boost programs helps nonprofits and organizations with marketing of their fundraisers: https://www.4giving.com/

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