5 Steps to the Second Gift
Step 3: Within four weeks
Send an early second-gift appeal. Send a special appeal, carefully designed and sequenced to get donors to repeat their original gift amounts four weeks after their initial gifts. Send it two weeks after the new-donor welcome kit but before the first “regular” renewal campaign. Target your best new donors, such as those who gave $50 or more, depending on your budget.
Organizations have seen first-year donor-retention rates increase 3 percent to 4 percent with this strategy. As noted earlier, even slight improvements in retention rates can have a dramatic impact on your program results.
One successful creative approach is a note card featuring a preprinted message and a real handwritten note for a personal touch, with a closed-face outer envelope and First Class postage.
In your message, emphasize how the donor’s support already has had a direct impact. Reference the first gift amount in the handwritten note, and ask the donor to give the same amount again. For example, “Thank you for making a difference. Repeating your gift of $100 would mean so much.”
Also test upgrading the gift ask amount, and demonstrate why donors should give more while reporting back on the impact of that giving.
To simplify the process, you can use your acknowledgment data file for this appeal so you don’t have to pull data from your donor database twice.
Tip: In addition to segmenting new donors by gift value, also identify new donors who have shown a stronger interest in your organization, including:
- Survey responders
- Matching-gift responders
- Facebook likes
- Website visitors
- E-newsletter openers
These donors are more likely to continue their financial support.
Step 4: Two months after the initial gift
Offer your strongest renewal appeals first. You know which of your renewal appeals have the greatest results each year. Plan to send your new donors these offers up front. They are more likely to respond to your best appeals, so send them first. This may be your matching-gift appeal or proven “pillar” campaigns that perform well year after year. Also consider re-mailing the same appeal new donors just responded to.