If you work for an organization that achieved significant gains in new donors in the wake of last year’s election, hopefully you’ve been hard at work all year –
- Welcoming your new donors
- Engaging them and demonstrating the impact of their support
- Thanking them more than once
- Converting them to monthly donors
Stats on new donor participation in a second year are not good. The more urgent and crisis-oriented the initial fundraising was, the lower the retention tends to be. That’s why a first year of strong cultivation matters so much.
Whether your organization was a perfect steward of this generosity or not, the next four months are what matter now.
Here are a few strategies for action:
- Don’t wait until the donor’s anniversary. Ask for a renewed donation at least three months in advance. Ask in the mail at least once a month, all through and beyond their anniversary date. Ask in email far more often.
- Don’t assume that your traditional renewal or anniversary fundraising packages and appeals will work for these donors. There’s a lot of emotion involved in first-time politically-motivated giving, and a traditional appeal doesn’t tend to help donors revisit those feelings.
- Do create special campaigns and appeal elements designed to remind these donors why they gave in the first place.
- Do increase the emotion/urgency factor in your appeals.
- Do remind donors, using powerful examples, that there is work yet to be done.
- Do create deadlines and urgency, and seek opportunities to use special techniques like challenges to secure a second donation.
Rapid circumstantial gains in a program are exciting. They can help an organization grow to new heights of impact.
But only if the gains can be retained and built upon.