5 Steps to the Second Gift
Getting new donors is more expensive and more difficult than ever. Ten years ago, average new-donor retention rates were 30 percent. Now the average is down to 20 percent to 25 percent. That means 75 percent to 80 percent of your new donors may abandon you after the first gift. Ouch.
Your first critical task: Motivate your new donors to give you second gifts as soon as possible after the first gifts. It’s been proven that if a new donor gives again within three months, long-term donor loyalty can increase fourfold.
Getting that second gift can be elusive, clearly. But it’s worth the pursuit. Even a slight improvement in retention can have extremely positive effects on your program and net income.
You need to take five carefully timed steps to get more new donors to continue their support. But before you get started, get into the New-Donor Zone. Step away from the tactical aspects of your fundraising program for a moment, and put yourself in the shoes of your new donor. She is excited about her recent gift to your organization. She has a strong emotional connection to your cause. And something magical happened when she made her gift to you. She hopes she is making an impact. She is giving through your organization to realize her own aspirations. Your job is to keep these feelings burning strong. Tap in to this new-donor mind-set as you follow these steps:
Step 1: Within 48 hours
Thank your donors promptly and sincerely. Strengthen your new relationships while their gifts and the warm feelings associated with them are still fresh in their minds.
Thank everybody — no matter how small the gift. Use First Class postage for fast delivery. If you promised them a gift (calendar, wristband, tote bag, etc.), send it immediately. Recognize their new-donor status in your acknowledgment, welcome them to your organization, reference their gift amount and get specific about how their donations are having a direct, immediate impact. And be deeply grateful. Avoid a transactional, donation-receipt format that is cold and impersonal.