Chances are this December you’re going to get new donors! What will their first impression be?

As anyone who has ever been on the dating scene knows, first dates are important, but follow up afterwards is crucial. That’s what takes a fleeting meeting and turns it into the beginning of something special.

You have a chance to start something great with every new donor.

  • Make them feel special. I have a client who writes handwritten notes to every new donor and asks them how they heard about her organization. Of course, for some groups, this high-touch treatment is difficult to scale for every donor. But can you do something personalized for mid level donors – folks who give above $500?
  • Listen. Find out more about that donor and use the information you get to improve your relevance. What are their interests? Why do they care about your issue/cause? What language do they use to describe you? Where do they live? Simple welcome surveys can tell you a lot about your new donors.
  • Stand out. If you think your thank you copy is boring, it probably is. Don’t speak in generalities/institutional language when thanking a donor. Tell him or her how they changed someone’s life by giving to your organization. Give them an amazing photo. Send them to a thank you video that has some personality.
  • Ask them out again. Your best chance for converting donors into monthly donors happens during the first 60 days of their relationship with you. Make a great case for monthly giving (e.g. get a current sustainer to make the ask) and send it after your first wave of cultivation efforts.

It’s not hard to make a good first impression. What will yours be?