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April 25, 2024 | Categories Donor Management, DonorPerfect Fundraising Software, Featured

The Secret to Retaining New Donors: Nurture Them Like New Employees

Attracting new donors is vital for nonprofit growth. However, the journey doesn’t end with finding them – it’s equally crucial to nurture these relationships long-term.

According to a study by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, acquiring a new donor can cost up to five times more than retaining one. Just as nonprofits invest in thorough onboarding processes for new employees, they must prioritize communication with first-time supporters to foster lasting connections. Every effort should be made to ensure they feel welcomed and valued from the start, laying the foundation for continued engagement and support of your mission.

To support new hires, set them up with an onboarding resource like our Clean Data Checklist. Provide your new donors with a resource that tells them what to expect from your nonprofit and where they fit in – ways to give, how your programs impact the community, etc.

Clean Data Checklist Mockup

Many of the same principles guiding employee engagement apply to donor stewardship: 

  • Regular check-ins: Establish a cadence of communication with new donors to express gratitude, share impact stories, and solicit feedback. These touchpoints inform them about your organization’s work while demonstrating appreciation and inviting deeper involvement.

    For example, create a welcome email series to send automatic messages to engage constituents.

Discover how to tailor outreach, strengthen messaging, and create impactful content. Watch From Transactional to Transformational: 5 Steps to Human-Focused Fundraising, a recorded webinar by expert Mallory Erickson.

Mallory Erickson Headshot
  • Listening: Understand supporters’ needs, preferences, motivations, interests, and concerns by incorporating feedback mechanisms like online surveys to better meet their expectations and strengthen the relationship over time.

For example, engage supporters to test your donation forms for usability and functionality, and have them provide feedback about their experience.

  • Celebrating milestones: Just as you recognize employee tenure or achievements, reinforce the importance of your donors’ contributions. Whether reaching a certain giving level or supporting your organization for a specific time period, celebrate. It strengthens their bond with your cause.  

For example, honor donors’ birthdays by inviting them to start a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign benefiting your nonprofit instead of receiving traditional gifts. Additionally, schedule impact updates for their donation anniversaries, such as 6, 12, and 18 months after their initial gift.

Consider incorporating a text message service, like DP Text, into your strategy. Texting donors keeps them engaged and meets them where they are – on their phones!

DP Text Mockup
  • Building community: Create opportunities for supporters to connect with each other and your organization’s leadership. Host virtual meetups and networking events, or ask major donors to serve as mentors sharing insights.

    For example, one environmental nonprofit hosts annual donor appreciation events where attendees can meet program staff and giving society members.

If you’re ready to deepen your connections with donors and personalize your engagement strategy, rely on our Data-Driven Donor Persona Checklist to simplify your outreach efforts.

Persona checklist

Treating new donors with the same care and attention as new employees fosters trust, loyalty, and lasting support. By prioritizing consistent communication, meaningful interactions, and making them feel part of your community, you’re setting the stage for enduring, impactful relationships. 

Don’t stress over additional writing tasks that may come with communicating with new donors. Let DonorPerfect’s AI Fundraising Bot be your partner in reaching out to new donors to tell your story, motivate action, and raise more for your cause. From thank you emails and appeal letters to video scripts and social posts, our fundraising bot quickly generates quality content. 

Download AI for Nonprofits:

The Comprehensive Guide to Enhancing Fundraising Communications

Janell Lewis DonorPerfect Content Writer
Meet the author: Janell Lewis

Janell joined the DonorPerfect marketing and communications team in 2023. With over 15 years working in the nonprofit realm, she’s navigated many roles from public relations and fundraising to media relations and website management. Her commitment to nonprofits traces back to early in her life...

Learn more about Janell Lewis
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