Show your Donors how much you Appreciate them!
The Internet is opening up tons of opportunities for nonprofits! For one, it allows nonprofits to dramatically expand their reach with donors.
To begin our discussion on how to effectively shower your online donors with love, let’s take a look at the Blackbaud 2011 donorCentrics™ Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report.
- New donors are increasingly turning to the Internet rather than to direct mail for obvious reasons.
- However, new first-time online donors also have the highest attrition or turnover rates: 60% only give once. Ouch!
- Those that do return to give at another time tend to become committed and highly valuable supporters, volunteers, cheerleaders—and they drive more engagement online as well.
Now that we know what’s at stake, let’s get right to the most central point: how to increase donor retention.
The secret? It’s all about showing the love!
But what does that mean? We’ll answer that question through these proven methods.
Personalize Automated Donation Response Emails
We’re now programmed to expect automated, impersonal and scripted Thank You emails in response to spending money online in almost any context. This includes giving donations to nonprofits as much as making a purchase on Amazon. It’s a given. Simply saying thank you means diddly squat.
It has no weight, so to speak. So, while it’s not possible to personalize each and every email to every donor, you can put far more effort into your automatic responses.
- Don’t ask them for anything else within a Thank You email. It’s definitely frowned upon and won’t win you any brownie points with donors.
- Communicate that you put some LOVE into this!
- Be as personal as possible. Keep in mind that you are a human talking to other humans.
- Go light on the links other than to informative, relevant, useful or entertaining content.
- Use Smart Includes to insert their name and other info like how much they gave.
Again, put some love into the automated Thank You emails. Don’t send a boring theme or nothing but a “Thanks” and a transaction receipt.
Go Old School: Direct Mail Responses
Is it a good idea to send a thank you letter or card to donors through the mail? Absolutely! And you can apply just about everything we said concerning automated emails above. Put some love into these, which translates into personality.
If it feels or looks like the things they mindlessly toss into the physical trash or recycle bin on a regular basis, they’re goners. Here’s a really good Thank You Letter Template ready for personalization and tweaking.
Showcase Both Your Biggest and Smallest Supporters
This is your nonprofit’s story and all your donors are equally a part of it. When it comes to interfacing with first-time online donors and increasing retention, you might want to focus on the smaller guys. It’s all relative of course; we’re speaking in generalities here. Be sure to experiment and see what works best with your particular audience. Odds are you’ll find that the big upticks come from shining a light on examples like these:
- Little kids who create and engineer ways to make donation money. The “money” is secondary to these kids; superficial. All they care about and focus on are the impact and results that the money’s intended for.
- The average person who anyone can relate to.
- Hard-luck cases who overcome the odds and their donations are a form of giving back.
We can’t help but melt like butter for situations where people overcome big obstacles to give a little, but produce big impacts.
These everyday stories make a difference to people as well, and add to accessibility.
How do you show your donors some love? Let us know in the comments!