Donor acquisition efforts throughout the year and on special giving days can introduce new donors to your organization. Unfortunately, many of these new donors remain a single gift donor. How do you convert these one-time donors into long-term advocates?

Connect the donor to your mission

A new donor was compelled to give for a reason. It is vital that you affirm the reason the person gave the gift in the first place. When donors can see the impact of their gift, and connect it back to your mission, they are more likely to give again.

Make sure your donors feel appreciated

We say this a lot, but for a donor to be motivated to continue giving, (and to give the all-important second gift,) they need to be thanked within two days. A handwritten note is ideal to solidify the potential relationship. A personal phone call can also be a great way to build the relationship with the donor. Try to avoid automated emails and other impersonal communication – or worse, not thanking the donor at all.

Jeannie Howell, former director of nonprofit ventures and strategic impact at the Sacramento Region Community Foundation says,

The thank-you part is huge. We still see donors respond to our surveys saying no one thanked them. A lot of nonprofits rely on the [online donation] system to thank them, but we tell charities, “Those are your donors.”

Send a welcome packet

Include an overview of your organization’s mission, and a small gift. You might also consider holding a welcome reception for new donors as a kind of “orientation” to your nonprofit’s work.

Follow up

And by follow up, we don’t mean asking them for more donations. Instead, send them an email showing “this is what we did with your donation” so they can see the impact they made.

The point is to help these donors feel connected to your organization. When they can see that they are appreciated, and can see the impact and how they were a part of it, they are more likely to give in the future.