Your latest metrics show that you just acquired 35 new donors through your recent appeal mailing. Great news! Investing in new donors is the smart way to increase your donor base. But simply adding them to your current pool of donors, without a special plan, means you have only a 25% chance of getting their second gift. Here’s what you must do to improve your odds of getting that second gift!

Thank Promptly. Send a handwritten note within 72 hours of receiving the gift. This reinforces to the donor that they made a good choice, that you appreciate their gift, and that you are efficient.

Be Sincere. While it is tempting to combine a gift receipt and a thank you in the same letter, do these things separately. A well-crafted Thank You note reinforces the gift’s impact and is personal.

Engage Your Donor. While some donors will simply want to support your organization financially, others will welcome opportunities to get involved personally. Engage your donors through volunteer opportunities and invitations to events or a tour. A large percentage of people who become major donors also connect as volunteers with the organizations they support.

Pick Up The Phone. Many organizations will call a major donor to thank them for gifts they consider larger, perhaps $1,000 or more. Consider doing this also for first time donors. Anyone can make the call – the executive director, staff member, board member or a strategic volunteer. The most important part is that the call is prompt, filled with enthusiasm, and conveys sincere appreciation. Major donors usretention-rateually don’t start out making a major gift, so treat this first time donor like the major donor that they may become.

Don’t be discouraged that only 25% of first-time donors continue with a second gift. You can increase that percentage! Keep investing in finding new donors, and when you do, use these tips strategically and consistently to increase your odds, keep their interest, and win their long-term loyalty.