9 ways to keep more of your first-time donors

You’ve seen the disturbing numbers: Fewer than on out of five first-time donors ever gives again.

You don’t have to see dismal retention numbers like that. You can meaningfully improve the number of your new donors that stick with you. Here are some great tips from the Bloomerang Blog, at What Are Top Tips To Retain First-Time Donors?:

  1. Call first-time donors immediately and thank them. It should be quick, and you can leave a message. Anyone with a simple script can call. The impact on future giving is HUGE.

  2. Send new donors a great thank you letter. A well-written, emotional, longish letter.

  3. Send new online donors an additional thank you by mail. Beyond the thanking you do by email — send a postal thank you. It matters!

  4. Send new donors a welcome packet or welcome email series. Shower them with gratitude, with stories, and with opportunities to stay involved.

  5. Invite new donors to non-ask events. Presentations, tours, social gatherings. They can really strengthen the relationship.

  6. Invite new donors to become volunteers. Donors who volunteer become bigger and longer-lasting donors.

  7. Develop systems to ensure new donors get thanked more than once. Thank them again. And again.

  8. 30 days after the first thank-you letter, send a warm, quick impact reminder.

  9. A month before the anniversary of their first gift send them an impact piece. A year flies by. Reminding what they did last year can activate another donation.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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