Another strategic question to ask at the beginning of this new year is whether you want to acquire more valuable donors by lifting your exchange cap. When you think about it, there’s really no reason not to. As one consultant told me recently, “this could be the million-dollar idea for 2005.”
Bond with new donors
The biggest mistake nonprofits make is failing to pay close attention to new donors who have just given their first gift. Here’s a proven fact: New donors who fail to give a second gift within two to four months of their first gift likely will never give again.
To put it more positively, new donors who give a second gift within two to four months of their first gift are three or four times more likely to continue giving long into the future.
Acquiring new donors costs a lot of money, takes enormous commitment and can lead to contentious internal debates over allocation of resources. To win these debates, you must produce a solid ROI on your expenditures — usually within the first couple of years of acquisition. Failure to keep your new donors active will plunge you deeper and deeper into financial trouble.
The key strategic question, then, is how can you quickly obtain a second gift from new donors? The answer is all about opportunity.
A new donor should immediately receive a gift-acknowledgement package that affirms her decision to give to your organization, reintroduces her to your cause and gives her an opportunity to give again. Roughly two weeks later, she should receive a special-appeal package that reconnects her to the original acquisition message and asks her to give again.
Depending on her original gift size, you might even want to place a special phone call to welcome her to your family of supporters and ask for another gift. Remember, the goal of these efforts is to bond your new donors with your organization so they will consider giving additional gifts.