How to get new donors to make a second gift?

28th March 2016

Our Fundraising Fitness Test often shows that a typical charity loses over 60% of their first time donors acquired via direct mail.

In other words, although a charity can invest a lot of money and effort in acquiring new donors they somehow lose most of them through the ‘back door.’ Often the main reasons for such high attrition rates are: failing to treat new donors in a special way and not asking them soon enough for a second gift.

If you want to increase the percentage of new donors who make a second gift to your charity here are four steps you can take:

1. Thank new donors in a warm and personalised way for their first gift. Our research conducted for some of our clients indicates that donors who are thanked within 48 hours of making their first gift are likely to give again, especially men.

2. Send them a welcome pack. Tell them why you value their support and partnership with your cause. Your welcome package should include: a welcome letter, a general brochure, your latest newsletter or magazine, and a basic questionnaire to help you get to know these new donors. Make sure you don’t overwhelm them with too many things.

3. Show new donors how you are using their gift to change the world. You can do this most effectively with a donor-centred newsletter, an e-update or a short video containing a few inspiring stories of how their gift can make a difference you are putting their gifts to work.

4. Ask for a second gift within three months of receiving the first gift. Many charities leave it too late to ask for a second gift and they lose many of their first time  donors in the process. The longer you wait, the less likely you are to secure that all-important second donation. So, make sure you have a good fundraising package you can use to secure a second gift from your donors.

Do these things consistently and see your new donor retention rates go up from one year to the next.