How to do the donor follow-up!
A potential donor is worth far more than a single donation, and a lifetime donor is priceless.
The donor follow-up, post event, is a key part of establishing and maintaining a long-term relationship; it lets them know you appreciate their generosity, value their participation, and keeps them engaged after the event is over.
A well-devised follow-up strategy is like a friendly, tailored billboard ad; the repeat exposure is a valuable commodity when so many other things in life are competing for donors’ attention. Donors will remember your name when you follow up with them, and attach it to feeling appreciated and effective. This positive association can generate more donor activity in the future!
Here are some ideas to piggy-back off of the hard work you’ve done to promote and hold your event; as well as how to use it to raise more money for your non-profit.
Continuing Your Special Appeal
Your special appeal doesn’t have to end on event night! There are all kinds of reasons why capable donors couldn’t—or didn’t—donate to the special appeal at the event. Give them an opportunity to donate afterwards, when it’s more convenient for them, by sending a guest follow-up letter or email (or both!) to let them know your doors are still open for donations to the special appeal. If you had a goal for your paddle raise and didn’t meet it, use this as part of your emotional appeal. (Graphics of thermometers are great for this!)
Engage donors who couldn’t be present on event night and create a special donation page for them on your Greater Giving event website. Include a link to the page in your post-event email and invite everyone who couldn’t participate in person to make a special donation.
The Extended Auction
Especially in a smaller auction, some guests who didn’t win a package may leave an event feeling disappointed. Hold a online auction after your event to give them more opportunities to participate and win something. Procure separately for it, or simply auction off packages that didn’t receive bids at the live event. If you’re organization is a school, host a silent auction in the lobby with remaining items for parents who weren’t able to attend the event; or continue the wine wall with leftover bottles from the event.
The Thank-You Letter
The thank-you is the most important type of donor follow-up, and the easiest. Send a thank-you letter for every interaction you have with donors, even beyond your live event. This includes:
- Mailing-in a donation
- Making a donation online
- Signing-up for a newsletter
- Signing a petition
It sounds simple, but a heart-felt thank you can go a long way in growing your event from year to year, and makes donors feel appreciated for even the smallest action by your organization—encouraging loyalty and continued support in the future.