Do you struggle with keeping your donors engaged year-round?
For most companies the end of the year is a slow period and a time for catching up; however for nonprofit organizations it’s a busy time for collecting year-end donations from new and existing donors. These donors give in a myriad of ways: online, by mail and in person—however they give, you want to make sure they stick around by making sure they feel welcome.
The new donors, who may have been motivated by the spirit of the season, need to be nurtured or they might not be around in the New Year. The steps you take right after they donate can increase the number of first-time donors who remain loyal year-round.
Here are a few tips on how to ensure new donors ongoing support:
No matter how small the donation, donors expect receipts that are valid for tax purposes. Combine this receipt with a letter from your president or executive director thanking them for their generosity and explaining how their funds will be used.
If you use Event Software Online or Online Payments, set up an automatic confirmation email, and the job is done for you. You can also print customizable letters from templates to mail if you prefer.
Welcome donors to your cause
There is a 90-day window to get a second gift from a new donor according to research, so set about welcoming these donors with open arms to your cause. Strike a balance; you don’t want to overwhelm with a barrage of communication, yet you also don’t want them to feel ignored.
Once the receipt is emailed or mailed, send a welcome email or mailing a week or so later. Make it personal, colorful (photos are best) and to the point with links to your website and online donation page. If you send a long winded letter with no photos or stories to capture attention, your “welcome” may turn off the donor. This is your chance to get those heart strings strumming!
Say “thank you” in a memorable way
Picking up the phone and calling a new donor to simply say “thank you” is the best way to make a lasting impression. I still remember a call I received a few years ago from a local nonprofit in my area after I donated to buy a bed and bedding for a child in need. I was so surprised they actually called to thank me that I now go out of my way to donate to them whenever I can. If you don’t have enough staff to accomplish this, then consider recruiting volunteers to help out. Write a script for your staff and volunteers, so they make sure to only say “thank you” and answer any questions about the organization — volunteers can explain what moved them to support your cause.
Do you have a colorful picture drawn by a recipient of your services? Or a photo or video showcasing your mission in action? Can you send a short, handwritten message of thanks on a note card? You don’t have to spend a lot of money to convey to the new donor that their investment was a great decision because it’s bringing about positive change in their world.
However you choose to reach out to your new donors at the start of the New Year, just remember to reach out and make it easy to give again. In this time of constant communication it makes us all feel good to know we have been heard and in some small way are helping to make a difference.
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