According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s 2015 Survey, only 19% of new donors give again after their first donation.
However, once a new donor gives a second time, 63% will give again.
That second donation, the one that means that a donor will be more than three times as likely to give again, is the sought-after golden donation.
The question that’s plaguing every nonprofit out there (whether they’ll admit to it or not) is, “How do we get our first-time donors from Point A to Point B? How do we get them to donate a second time?”
It’s a fantastic question–and one that a lot of people have tried to answer.
Our steps are laid out for you here. Click on any of these links to jump ahead:
#1. Have a First-time Donor Communications Strategy
#2. Remember to Thank Your Donors
#3. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
#4. Ask for Donations that Aren’t Monetary
#5. Deliver on Your Promises
#6. Ask for the Golden Donation!
You’ve spent the time, money, and effort to acquire your new donors.
Now is not the time to give up on those new donors in favor of finding more, newer donors.
It’s time to hunker down and apply a strategic approach to donor retention.
The more donor-centric your communications strategy is, the better.
A donor-centric communications strategy means:
While you’re employing all of these strategies, make sure that you’re shifting the conversation from “I” or “We” to “You.”
Don’t you hate when you’re talking to someone and you can’t seem to get a word in edgewise because the person you’re with can only seem to say:
“Me. Me. Me. I. I. I. I. I’m so great. What about you? What do you think about me?”
Don’t get us wrong.
First-time donors care about your organization, but more than that, they care about how they can be a part of something greater than themselves.
When you send out communications, do a double-take to make sure that you’re focusing on them and not on your own organization.
That’s not to say that you can’t talk about all of the awesome things you’re doing!
Just be sure that the conversation you’re having with your donors isn’t a one-sided brag session. Make them feel like their opinion matters. Because it does!
When first-time donors feel like their voices are being heard, they are far more likely to donate a second time.
You probably already know that you should always thank your donors.
You learned that in Fundraising 101.
But did you know that the first 48 hours are the most important window of opportunity for your organization?
The more quickly you respond to your first-time donors, the more likely they’ll be to pay attention to your future correspondences (including any future asks you may make).
No matter how small the gift is, you need to thank your donors in at least one way. You’ll need to thank all of your donors immediately. And for good measure, be sure to thank your first-time donors in a more thoughtful way.
Thank your donors immediately using:
Thank your donors in a more thoughtful way with:
If a first-time donor clicks “Like” on your Facebook page, hits “Follow” on your Twitter feed, or requests to “Follow” you on Instagram, they will see your content on a daily or weekly basis.
Regardless of whether you post every day or once every two weeks, you can’t deny that social media is a powerful tool.
As with any other powerful communication tool, you need to know how to use it properly before it can help you achieve your goals.
When it comes to using social media to the fullest, you want to be channel-specific, not channel-agnostic.
Make sure your message is reaching the right people at the right time in the right way.
This means optimizing the time you post on each separate social media (yes, they do vary quite a bit) as well as optimizing the way you present your message on each platform.
There is an optimal time to post, tweet, and pin:
There is also, conversely, a least optimal time to post on social media:
To make the most out of each social media site and application, you’ll need to customize your approach to each.
How do you customize your approach?
By following these simple rules, you can master any social media site:
Of course, you don’t need to be on every form of social media known to man. That would be exhausting!
Choose the platforms that make the most sense for your organization. If only one or two of these platforms work for you, that’s perfectly okay.
Even if you only pick one social media channel to focus on, you can still harness that energy to encourage your first-time donors to donate again.
This may seem counterintuitive when we’re talking about going after a golden donation.
But trust us.
Most donors want to be valued beyond their capacity to give money.
They want to make use of their passions, interests, and skills.
How do you ask for donations that aren’t monetary? The key is to mention opportunities and outcomes more than you talk about your needs.
Sure, it’s important to make sure that your donors know that your cause is worthy. But don’t make your needs the focus of your interactions.
Instead, bring your volunteer and advocacy opportunities to the forefront of the conversation. The more donors know about your advocacy and volunteer opportunities, the more chance you have to get people involved and see the other ways your organization needs support.
To get the word out about your volunteer and advocacy opportunities:
How does asking for non-monetary donations help secure your golden donations?
Not only does it prove to your first-time donors that they get a great ROI (return on investment) when they donate to your cause, but it also shows them that you’re concerned with driving real results.
Like all other donors, first-time donors want to feel like they’re a part of something meaningful and important.
Once they’ve volunteered with your organization, or advocated for your cause, they’re bound to feel as though they’re an integral part of bringing your mission to life.
When first-time donors sense that they’re valued for what they bring to the table, they feel compelled to continue giving to your cause.
If you promise your donors a gift of some kind, be it a T-shirt or an awesome mug, make sure that it arrives within two weeks of the donation.
Any longer than that, and your donors will likely have forgotten all about it. Or worse yet, they’ll be expecting your gift and be sorely disappointed when it arrives three months later.
If you promise to update your first-time donors on the status of your latest project, be sure to send a targeted email blast to all of your new contributors.
Donors can tell when they’re not being told the truth. Make sure that you keep your communications open and honest.
If you promise to upload a video of the volunteer opportunity that your donors took part in, be timely.
This means paying attention to the best times to post content on various sites. [LINK to #3].
The point is: first-time donors respond well to consistency.
If you make a promise, you had better deliver, or you can expect a sharp drop-off in engagement with your newest contributors.
The final step in securing a golden donation is just simply to ask for it.
You won’t receive what you never ask for!
When you’re preparing to ask for that second donation, the one that will launch your one-time giver from casual contributor to dedicated donor, you’ll want to:
If you follow these steps, you’ll no doubt see a major spike in continued engagement.
Get out there and get your golden donation!
Comments are closed.