Keeping New 2011 Year-End Donors Active in 2012
Once the receipt is mailed, send a welcome mailing. Don’t simply put your latest brochure in a No. 10 envelope and expect that to say “Welcome!” Make sure you include information about your successes, a story (or two) that shows results, and a warm message of welcome. Provide a phone number a new donor can call if she has questions.
Consider offering a small mission-appropriate premium for a second gift in 45 or 60 days. This can trigger additional giving, especially from donors who gave smaller amounts as first gifts. A bookmark, booklet with helpful information related to your mission (i.e., 10 ways to protect your family from fires) or other item that reinforces your mission is appropriate.
Your welcome series may include a telephone call (if the donor provided a number) to say “thank you,” a few of your best mailings that showcase your flagship projects and have a clear offer, an undated newsletter that provides stories showing your accomplishments, and e-mails that reinforce your success — and ongoing need. Unless the gift is especially large, don’t mail unrequested annual reports or expensive brochures — it is too much too early in the relationship.
Find creative ways to say 'thank you'
Do you have a great picture drawn by a recipient of your services? Is there a photograph that shows your work and is “keeper” quality? Can you send a short, handwritten message of thanks on a note card? Your goal isn’t to spend so much that the new donor thinks his gift only went to more communications; it's to give donors additional reinforcement that their investment was a great decision because it is bringing about positive change.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed at year-end by donations, and many of us are focused on relaxing a bit over the holidays. But before you head home on Dec. 30, put the process in place to say “thank you” in the first few weeks of 2012 more than once and as sincerely as possible. You’ll stand out to your new donors as a nonprofit that really appreciates them — and isn’t that how we all want to feel?