This post was originally published on John Haydon’s blog, and is being shared with his permission.
According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, most first-time donors never come back to make a second gift.
Nonprofits as a whole are losing 57% of their donors every single year. And 71% of first-time donors never return!
Any fundraising professional will tell you that retaining existing donors costs less than acquiring new donors. The quickest and surest way to a positive net revenue is to focus on retention.
The factors that influence donor retention have been well researched and documented. In his amazing book on Retention Fundraising, Roger Craver shares 7 reasons donors keep giving after that first gift:
As you can see, the first experience a donor has with your nonprofit is key. Is their first impression glorious or lackluster?
First-time donors often want to see how you treat them before making a bigger gift. Will you merely send a tax receipt? Or will you surprise and delight them with a hand-written note?
Either way, the first experience is critical. Will they be part of the 71% and never come back? Or will they keep coming back for more?
Like this scene in Office Space, it’s up to you if you want to just to the bare minimum:
You can be like Joanna and do the bare minimum, or you can be like Brian and dazzle your donors.
Here are three specific strategies to make a lasting impression with first-time donors:
There’s a reason your mother pounded this into your head. Gratitude is the glue of all successful and happy relationships – including your relationship with donors.
Expressing gratitude makes your organization more relatable, and more human. And according to all the fundraising research, thanking donors also boosts retention.
A few key tips for thanking donors:
Donors don’t want to give money to nonprofits. They want to make an impact. They want to change the world.
Smart nonprofits embrace the humble role of agent:
According to Roger Craver, thank-you phone calls will boost the first-year retention by 30%! Check out Pamela Grow’s tips for effective thank you phone calls.
Sending hand-written thank you notes also has a huge impact on retention. Yes, they take more time – but it’s time well spent.
Want to learn more from John Haydon? He provides you with the tools you need to write fundraising emails that convert more donors. Click HERE find out more about the guaranteed, online course!