Why So Many New-donor Acquisition Efforts Stink
The failure to immediately obtain second gifts from new donors is a grave error. In fact, many new-donor acquisition efforts stink because of this failure.
As a fundraiser, one of your primary obligations is to acquire new donors so your organization’s revenue will increase. This means, of course, that you need to acquire more new donors each year than you lose to offset natural attrition.
Sadly, you might find yourself running hard on the acquisition treadmill but not moving forward at all. You’re investing significant amounts of money in acquisition campaigns, but you still remain stuck.
The good news is that you’re not alone. Most fundraisers find it incredibly difficult to take a new-donor acquisition program to the next level.
The bad news is that you shouldn’t be in this position. But don’t worry, because you can take steps right now to jump off the acquisition treadmill and make real progress toward higher revenue. You can start on this journey by examining what happens with new donors after they give their first gifts.
The vital importance of second gifts
I had a conversation recently with a fundraising manager who was complaining about acquisition and the difficulty of growing her donor file. She lamented about not getting new donors to give again. She felt tremendous pressure from her supervisor to “get acquisition fixed now.”
We spoke at length about how her new donors had been treated, what kind of mail they received and how frequently they were asked for gifts. To my dismay, I learned that this particular organization only acknowledged gifts of $25 or more. Since its average first-time gift hovered between $21 and $23, it’s likely that half, if not more, of all new donors never receive a thank-you gift receipt. No donor is going to give again if he hasn’t been properly thanked for his last gift.