Transform First-time Direct-mail Donors Into Repeat Givers
2. Before asking again, W-I-N them.
You have work to do between receiving a donor's first gift and asking for a second one. First-time donors need a reason to repeat their generosity. I recommend you W-I-N over your new donors, as follows.
Give them a WELCOME. Mail a welcome kit or new-member package within a week of receiving the first gift. Your goal is to inform and inspire your new donors, helping them see that they made the right decision in mailing you a gift, and that your organization deserves their continued support.
Get them INVOLVED. In 1993, according to fundraiser Kent Dove, the average gift among households with volunteers was 55 percent higher than among households with no volunteers. So invite your first-time donors to sign a petition, answer a survey, volunteer or drop by for a tour. Involvement leads to commitment -- and that second gift.
Give them NEWS. First-time donors have attended one game, but they aren't fans yet. To transform them into long-term, loyal supporters, you need to educate them with newsletters, updates and progress reports. To attract that vital second gift, the most important thing to tell your new donor is what you did with his first gift. Donors want to see proof that you have used, or are using, their last gift as they intended.
3. How to ask for the second gift.
Don't kill your budding friendship with a "dear friend" letter. Address your donor by name. Somewhere in the opening paragraphs, thank the donor for her recent support. Recognize her recent interest and generosity. Describe what the donor accomplished with her gift, and explain why her continued support is needed right now. Stress the need for renewed support or a renewed gift. Do this again in your close.
One last thought
The easiest way to attract a second gift is to ask for it first -- in your mind, that is. Before you sit down and craft your acquisition package, determine what you're going to mail after that. What's most important in direct-mail fundraising isn't the first package that acquires the donor, but the second package (or third or fourth) that renews the donor.