It is a personal goal of mine that people feel comfortable and welcomed in my home. Don’t be surprised, if you drop by, that you are offered a snack, something to drink, or fresh eggs to carry home. Some of the best compliments I have received are “it always smells like you pulled a cake out of the oven” and “I’m excited to be back at the Nieters bed and breakfast.” I want everyone to feel like extended family and hopefully return soon. Nonprofits can be like extended family too. You are bound by a common idea and hopefully support each other as you grow.

In 2020, our world was challenged in so many ways. Many who had the ability responded by making gifts, or better yet investments, in nonprofits working the front lines in the pandemic and supporting their neighbors in need. Nonprofits adapted in creative and impactful ways to ensure delivery of their mission. Now we are in 2021 and still working through the challenges of 2020. Do your new donors feel welcomed into your nonprofit’s family?

According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, nonprofits are currently retaining 43.4% of their donors each year. When you look at first-time donors, that number drops to 20.2%. So why do donors stop giving? Penelope Burk’s research points to over-solicitation, lack of measurable results, no longer inspired by the mission, and overhead costs too high.

As we enter the first month of a new year, pause for a moment and think about how you are welcoming new donors. Are you calling them out as first-time supporters and acknowledging the investment they are making in your mission? Are they starting to feel like their support is impacting your mission in meaningful ways? If you do not have a process to welcome new donors, now might be the time to start. Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Ensure you acknowledge their gift within 48 hours.
  • Have the CEO or ED send a handwritten note.
  • Send a story of impact acknowledging how their first-time gift went straight to work.
  • Send a survey/email to learn more about their interest and communication preferences.
  • Share your electronic newsletter with them.
  • Have a board member, volunteer, or client call to thank them for their support.
  • Invite them to tour your operations to see firsthand how they are making a difference.

Welcoming donors well to your family will result in more individuals who are connected and committed to your mission. Retention rates for repeat donors also jumps to 61%.

Now go show the love and #DoGreatThings!

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