It Takes More Than a Thank You Receipt

It Takes More Than a “Thankceipt”

There is no shortage of ways to attract new donors to your organization. Keeping up with social media campaigns, retargeting campaigns, peer-to-peer campaigns, awareness events, and new-name acquisition programs can be dizzying. But when so much focus, time, and energy are spent on acquiring new ones, it can be easy to lose sight of the critical task of retaining the donors you already have or getting those new donors to give a second time. 

The key element in retention is remembering that, above all else, your donors are humans and that humans are hardwired for connection!

When mapping out a retention strategy, here are a few options to consider:

1. How did this donor engage with us in the first place? Paying attention to which message moved the donor to give can show you what their passion point could be and gives you a great way to follow up. Knowing whether they gave to you through a social media ad on Instagram or from an email helps you understand how they like to communicate. 

2. What does a genuine “thank you” look like? I’m sure most, if not all of you, have your online giving platform set up to automatically send what I call a “thankceipt”… that being an automated email that sends the donor a “thanks for your gift and here’s your receipt” all in one. Better than nothing, I suppose, and the receipt part is necessary, but if your appreciation stops there and the next time the donor hears from you is for another ask, they may feel more like an ATM than a connection. Consider putting steps in place like:

    • Call all first-time donors to thank them for their gift and build a strong first impression and connection. This can be done in-house with staff or volunteers or through an outsourced firm specializing in donor engagement.
    • Mail a handwritten note. In our current season, where our mailboxes get flooded with circulars, ads, and bills, having an actual piece of mail stands out more than ever. Even a note on a postcard can feel like a personal touch and is an easy way to build a connection. Again, this can be done by volunteers or through a service.
    • Send the thank you text. Text messages have a much higher open rate than emails in general, but a quick text a day or two after the gift saying that you appreciate their support is a surefire way to make the donor feel good about giving.

3. What is the follow-up plan? How often have you given to a specific project, initiative, or campaign and never known how it ended? For me, it’s a lot! Did that one organization ever build the wells the community needed? Did the other reach their goal of providing enough meals for the homeless this winter? I have no idea! But if someone updated me on those projects and showed me that my gift mattered to that result, I would be a lot more likely to give to that group again. 

Donors need more than just a thankceipt to feel connected to your organization. They need to feel appreciated, and they need to see the impact of what their gifts do. If you can create that kind of connection, you will have built a long-term relationship that will yield rewards for years to come!

The post It Takes More Than a Thank You Receipt appeared first on Nonprofit Hub.

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