You get them to make a donation, (no mean feat in itself) but can you encourage them to give again? Can you heck.
Retention of new donors is a tricky one. Say you keep 20% of your new donors. You pat yourself on the back – you’re doing well with a difficult group. No. What you should be saying is ‘what on earth happened to the other 80%?’ Did they not feel their gift was appreciated? Did they think we spent their money unwisely? Did we even tell them how we spent their money? Are they (shudder at the thought) bored of us?
We all know that to grow loyal donors we need to make donors feel loved and valued. But what are some practical steps we can take to make that happen. Here are a few ideas.
Ta very much
The thank you letter is the first opportunity for a warm fuzzy feeling. You are telling the donor ‘we noticed your £20 cheque.’ Yes, send it promptly, but moreover take the time to get it right. Spell their name correctly, make sure the amount is correct, tell them a little bit about the difference their gift is going to make. Do not spend 3 paragraphs telling them about the organisation or other people’s support. They careth not.
For a little more on the art of thanking, see this previous post.
It's all about them
Tell them what their gift has done. This can be by email, or by phone or post. Depending on the size of your operation – can you ring these people? Could a volunteer come in one day a month and ring through the list? Donors must know we spent their money on exactly what we told them we’d spend it on. Do not send them a generic publication.
Tell them what their gift has done, and make it appropriate for the level of support they have given. If someone tells you there’s no resource to send a mailing or call, calculate how much it costs your organisation to recruit one new donor, and also how much a loyal donor is worth to your organisation. Present these figures to them.
Don’t ask them too soon – but don’t wait too long either. Some organisations ask once a year, other folks once a month. The ‘right’ frequency for your organisation is probably somewhere between the two. But one thing’s for sure, you need to strike while the iron is hot, and when you do – be sure to reference their gift. This shows the donor that you paid attention. You are so grateful for what they gave, this is how it’s helped, and this is why you need them to dig deep again – now.
How are you getting on with that difficult second gift? I’d love to know.