New Donors Need to be Welcomed

What do you do when a new donor joins the ranks?

If you’re not acknowledging and welcoming new donors, you’re doing it wrong.

Donors, as I’ve said many times, are not ATMs. They deserve to be treated better than that, and the best time to start doing that is when the join the ranks.

You can’t just use a first receipt as a way to acknowledge a new donor, you should be doing a receipt then the Welcome Package.

You need to give them more information; you should be using a Welcome Pack. These are a great way to new donors feel welcome and to provide more information about the organisation, more information on ways they can be part of the donor family.

The idea behind a Welcome Pack is to begin a relationship between the donor and your organisation.

If you say you don’t then you are missing out.

You should be sending out your Welcome Package soon after the reciept for the first donation, not with the receipt.

Your Welcome Pack could contain more indepth information about your organisation, the people, the work, the beneficiaries. It and offer other ways the donor can get involved and, it should reinforce the benefits to the donor of supporting you.

Perhaps adding a couple of brochures outlining the work and benecificaries of your organisation, if you do a regular newsletter, include a couple of the most recent issues. Perhaps somethingon payroll giving or bequests could be included to.

But do make sure what you offer in the Welcome Pack doesn’t come across as though you’re trying to be pushy. These people have just joined, you don’t want to lose them.

Have a few people from your organisation sit down and work through what would be good to include in your Welcome Pack, and there’s no reason why you couldn’t ask a couple of donors to also have some input.

Lastly, do not, do not, use or see your Welcome Pack as another fundraising appeal. It is a thank you, a way for you to show your appreciation for having the donor on board and to give some added information.

What do you do when a new donor joins your family?

Donor Loyalty … You not Them

Donor loyalty is important, not the donor being loyal, but you, the organisation.

Often donors feel as they’re simply being treated as an ATM, they feel that organisations aren’t loyal to them.

This article, Keep Your Donors by Building Profitable Relationships That Last; on Nonprofit Quartely is a must read.

There’s some good pointers in it, many I’ve raised before; being donor centric, building relationships and more.

Take some time out and read this now

A Look Back

After chatting with some people over the weekend about ideas for my blog posts this week, it was suggested to do a recap a ”Look Back” at some of the posts I have shared previsously.

Sounded good to me, so here’s Look Back at some earlier posts that I’m sure you will enjoy and gain something from.

When Something Goes Wrong
Negative feedback about staff interaction with donors can impact on the reputation of your organisation, how do you deal with it?

Every now and then someone doing work for your organisation may say or do something that causes donors to be left with a sour taste in their mouth.

How this is dealt with by you is important, you need to retain supporters and the best way to do this when someone upsets them, is to let the supporter know that you hear what they are saying, that you will talk to the staff member about their actions and that you will let the supporter know what action you have taken.

It doesn’t matter how long or the value of support you receive from a supporter, they are all equal and should be treated as such, respect is universal.

Keep reading here

Reigniting the Flame in Delinquent Donors
Before you start planning how to get delinquent donors back on board, have you made the phone call to ask why people have stopped supporting you?

Without some level of research any plan to reignite the flame in donors who have stopped giving for some reason, you have no idea the why, what and how of putting something in place to win them back.

Reigniting the flame in a delinquent donor in many cases is quicker and more cost effective than gainer a new donor.

The donor who has stopped supporting you did so for a reason, was the amount they were giving too high, they had a change in personal circumstances, or something else has caused them to stop giving.

Continue reading here

Business Support
It’s estimated that business donations account for six percent of the donations some non-profits receive.

If this is the case then the question must be asked “how much time and energy is being used to reach and nurture this group?”

Is the time you’re putting into gaining business support being used wisely?

If residential – general support if the main income source for non-profits, wouldn’t it pay to spend more time gaining and nurturing this sector?

Continue reading here

Pick up the Phone and Say Thank You
Don’t lose donors, respect them, acknowledge them.

An organization recently lost a major donor because they felt their support wasn’t really being appreciated.

Why, simple after sending in a substantial cheque on a regular basis all they’d hear back from the organization would be in the form a standard receipt, no acknowledgment of the impact the donation would have on the work that the organization carries out.

Result – support withdrawn. All the organization had to do was pick up the phone and call the donor, thank them and tell them how important they were to the work being carried out.

Continue reading here

As always, leave comments or suggestions on what you would like to see shared on my blog

You can email me

Are High Dollar Donors More Loyal ?

Have been wondering recently whether high dollar donors are more loyal than low dollar donors, and while pondering this, an email popped up with a link to an article on this very subject from from Gregory Warner of Marketsmart.

Although it doesn’t show New Zealand examples, it’s worth a read and hopefully I’ll soon be able to share some local examples.

Here’s Gregory’s article …


Recently I made some new friends at The Fundraising Effectiveness Project and they shared some awesome research findings with me.  You can see the first one below proving that high-dollar donors are actually more loyal (stickier) than low-dollar supporters.

I think what this chart implies is this: The fundraising pyramid is dead

The idea that nonprofits should first seek to gain low dollar donors and move them up the pyramid is just not a wise strategy. Low dollar donors are clearly less loyal and don’t repeat at nearly the same rate as high dollar donors $1,000 – $4,999 (at 87%). Plus, low dollar donors are very expensive to acquire yet they are much more fickle. Therefore, they clearly can’t deliver enough returns for the long haul compared to the other givers.

4 things you should do today:

1- Develop a strategy that emphasizes efforts to gain more high-dollar donors instead of low-level supporters.

2- Focus on customer service and retention by providing value everywhere (especially in your engagement offers).

3- Search for ways to move mid-level donors up (again by providing value especially in your engagement offers).

4- Aim for referrals. Encourage your current high-dollar donors to introduce you to other high-dollar donors. This will be the lowest cost marketing you can implement and it will deliver the greatest return for your investment. The ice bucket challenge did this for low-level donors. But most of them never gave again. What can you do to get referrals from major and mid-level donors? Figure that out and you’ll be a fundraising rockstar!

Read the full article here 

A Disengaged Public

Having recently read “Charities Struggle with Disengaged Public” – it stood out that maybe we’re not understanding our donors … take for example “Do charity campaigns inspire people to act and are men better at ‘giving’? Well apparently not, according to two new research reports from the UK.”

Sure, this is the UK, but what’s the situation here?

I know from experience that engaging with men is different to engaging with women, more often than not organisations use the same words no matter if it’s a male or female audience they’re trying to engage with.

If we know who donors are, male or female, we can adapt our language to ensure that each is receiving our communication in the “language” they understand and will react to.

Have you segmented your database and do you communicate with each segment in a way that they will understand and, that will cause them to take action?

Reigniting the Flame in Delinquent Donors

Before you start planning how to get delinquent donors back on board, have you made the phone call to ask why people have stopped supporting you?

Without some level of research any plan to reignite the flame in donors who have stopped giving for some reason, you have no idea the why, what and how of putting something in place to win them back.

Reigniting the flame in a delinquent donor in many cases is quicker and more cost effective than gainer a new donor.

The donor who has stopped supporting you did so for a reason, was the amount they were giving too high, they had a change in personal circumstances, or something else has caused them to stop giving.

Once you understand why people have stopped supporting you can set about working to win them back, they know your organisation, they know the good you are doing – now you just have to win them back.

The reason someone has stopped supporting could be as simple as they have misplaced your “ask” – that letter you sent out went astray or perhaps you email was blocked.

Some people stop giving if they feel they are being taken for granted, or that your acknowledgement of their giving is timely.

Others stop because they said they wanted to give less frequently, but were still be solicited monthly, this would turn anyone off.

People don’t like be ‘lumped’ in with everyone else, have you been addressing your donors in the way they expect “Dear Friend” instead of “Dear Mary”?

Put yourself in your donors shoes, how would you feel if any of the above happened to you?

How do you go about getting them back on board?

If you’re able your database should be able to give you a list of donors who have stopped giving, if possible break this down even further to – 12, 24, 36 month groups.

From each group, identify those who have made at least three donations each year.

Now you have several workable lists to work with to regain dormant donors.

Start with those who haven’t helped in the last 12 months, this group is easier to manage, and most likely will have a bit success rate.

People who have more recently given are more likely to start giving again, but only if asked, and only if the reason/s they gave to stop giving have been addressed.

The longer you leave it to get in touch with delinquent donors, the harder it will be to reignite their passion to help.

Have a regular plan to contact people who stop giving, even a quick call might be sufficient to get them back on board.

Don’t start a conversation with a delinquent donor they way you would with any other, you need to do these approaches in a personal way; don’t treat them as a number, treat them as the person they are – talk about them, their support and what it means to you; leave the fluff about the how great you are for another conversation.

See also:

Donor Loyalty

Donor Retention: Time for a Change

Who’s Centre of Attention – You or Your Donor

Supporter Communications

Before you send something to your supporters do you categorize who will receive what, or do you simply send the same communications to everyone on your database.

All too often supporters receive communications which are irrelevant, such as a thank you for previous supports etc.; but often the recipient may not have supported in a number of years.

For example, I received an email from an organisation thanking me for my support last year and asking if I would continue my support this year and take part in a volunteer event as well.

I hadn’t supported the organisation in over five years, as I was disillusioned in the manner in which they operate and the fact they didn’t offer updates on work they had undertaken, all they did was ask for more support.

So, receiving their email made me think even less of them, to me it showed they had little regard for the people who do support them.

Before you start your next email campaign, take time to check your supporter status and remove those who have said they don’t want to support anymore, including them will only alienate them further.

Your supporter database should have the ability to add filters so as to ensure the right people receiving the right communications at the right time.

Send the right information to the right people at the right time and you will have a better chance of favourable responses and ongoing support.

Privacy and Charity Fundraising Agencies

It’s dinner time, you’ve just sat down to eat – and the phone rings, it’s one of those pesky callers asking if you can help with a donation for some cause.

You often get these calls and help when you’re able, often without asking any questions; however this time you decide to ask “Are you working directly with xyz or are you with a fundraising agency?” – the caller is silent for a moment then says yes she is with an agency who were supplied with a list of numbers for people who had completed a survey.

Strange, no survey comes to mind, so a few more questions and it transpires that you had donated to another charity the company calls for … privacy alarm bells ring.

If you’ve given your information for one reason, it can’t be used for another – simple.

It’s important to understand privacy principals …

Principle 1Principle 2Principle 3 and Principle 4 govern the collection of personal information. This includes the reasons why personal information may be collected, where it may be collected from, and how it is collected.

Principle 8 and Principle 9Principle 10 and Principle 11 place restrictions on how people and organisations can use or disclose personal information. These include ensuring information is accurate and up-to-date, and that it isn’t improperly disclosed.

See also

Privacy Padlock


Privacy is something we all worry about, what’s happening to our information, how can we protect the information of others – this simple guide from the Privacy Commissioner helps make sense of what many see as a complicated issue. More …


You walk down the street and get confronted by an organization asking you to sign their petition; you do so only to find out down the track that they have used your information for other purposes – how do you feel?


Did you know that your organization must comply with the Privacy Act 1993 ? Some organizations are unaware of their requirements under the Act, and how they must deal with, treat personal information collected in the course of their work – more

Are you visible?

Some organisations are screaming out for support to enable them to do their work however, some of these have no visibility – could this be holding them back?

Organisations that have a high profile, have easy recall with the public are more likely to gain sustained, ongoing support; whereas those who for whatever reason don’t shout out about what they’re doing miss out.

People will generally support organisations they have an affinity with or those that have a high profile, if you are not in either camp you’re going to miss out.

Communicating with supporters, current and lapsed is only part of it, organisations need to be keeping their message in front of people, not only at appeal time, but whenever possible.

If your supporters are seeing you and only see other organisations their allegiance can and will change.

But, importantly too, is that your visibility will help grow your supporter base.

Any organisation that doesn’t raise it’s head, wave it’s arms around and shout “here we and this is what we’ve done” will be left behind, growing a supporter base will be more difficult and people will bypass it for others that are readily identifiable.

Do you want to be left behind?

Are you sharing your stories, the good, the bad; how is this working for you?

Why aren’t you sharing your story, what impact are you noticing?

Does “brand recognition” make it easier for you to select what organisation you will support?

See also:




An email Doesn’t Always Cut It

Q: Are we relying too much on emails to communicate with our donors?

A: Yes

What I hear you say.

Simply put sometimes an email isn’t the best form of communication, yet many organisations are relying on email as a quick way to communicate, but often something is lost in translation and, true communication can be lost.

As a way to keep supporters aware of what your organisation has been doing, there’s quite often no better way, especially when cost is taken into account, but a personalised message can mean a lot more to your supporters than something that can be perceived as mass produced, something for the masses.

Every donor is different some are happy to receive no updates; others have higher expectations.

Some organisations have a rule that they make a personal call to donors who contribute above a certain amount, this is great, it can show to the donor that their support is appreciated.

Other organisations are quite content to stay with what they have been doing for years … post or email a receipt that gives some updates, but nothing that show that if it weren’t for Mrs Brown, they wouldn’t have been able to do what they have done.

By personalising messages, donor retention has more certainty, picking up the phone and calling the Mrs Browns who support will have the potential further grow support.

It’s a known fact in business that were there is personal interaction customers come back; it should be no different in the charity sector.

A recent post on 101Fundrasing had some great pointers from the “business world” that are easily adapted to the non-profit/charity sector.

“I am calling you, because …” 10 reasons to give your donor a call

Is well worth a read … perhaps you’ll see how you can better engage with donors and keep them as not only donors, but as advocates for your organisation.

How often are you communicating with your donors?

Do you have a communication strategy that shows when and how you communicate with supporters?

What have you learned from picking up the phone and speaking with supporters?