For many, the fall appeal has been sent out or is flying into mailboxes as we write.
That means you are now in the Did It Work? mode. Let’s just assume you’ve put together an appeal with a killer story that people just can’t say no to and the gifts start coming in hot and heavy (you should be so lucky). You discover that you have somehow unearthed more new donors that ever before. This is truly your opportunity for a bonanza! Why? Because if you can get those first timers to give a 2nd time within a 9-month period, our studies show you have a more than average chance of turning that group into lifetime, loyal donors who increase their gifts regularly.
Here are some suggestions to make it happen:
- Ask them why they chose to give- do you send your donors a survey, you should…especially new ones. Let them tell you about themselves, their motivation for giving, their family, their interests and hobbies. Ask them for suggestions and feedback . Surveys are a great way to compile information that will help strengthen your program and begin a conversation with a new donor from the very beginning.
- Don’t assume that new donors know why you need their support. Immediately confirm that you have received their gift and what you will do with it to help people. Then, after a reasonably short period of time (before the 9-month window), ask again as you give them an update.
- If all you do with a 1st time gift is put that name into a general house file, you’re not even trying to anticipate the donor’s needs and expectations and the chances are very high that there will be no second gift.
- Try to be interested. This is a talent and a fine line must be drawn between being accessible and open and and over spending on one-time givers. Here’s a good way to think of this budding relationship: be engaged, but not desperate.
- A low cost, effective way to capture a donor’s attention and appreciation can be invitations to a new member reception. Your suggestions would be appreciated. What works for you?
- After you’ve done all or some portion of the above, it’s time to test the results. How many donors have made a 2nd gift (converted to recurring) and what information have you learned from the surveys and from speaking with your new donors either in person or, more likely, on the phone or via email?
Again, please share your ideas for getting a 2nd gift from those newbies.