Five Maples’ Fundraising Blog

Wish your first-time donor renewal rates were higher? Part 3: Press send.

In this series of posts, founded upon the premise that first time donor renewal is critical for improving your organization’s long-term fundraising success, I’ve addressed the importance of thanking your donors.

I provided suggestions for sending a strong thank you letter through the mail as first in a series of thank yous, plural. I shared a strategy for making thank you telephone calls as a second—and proven—step.

Now let me ask you: Do you have your donors’ email addresses?

In improving first-time donor renewal, every touch matters. And email offers you an immediate and personal touch.

The elements of an effective thank you email resemble those of the thank you letter. In email communication, however, brevity is key. Be quick and to the point.


Effusive thanks followed by a brief affirmation of what the donor’s gift has helped accomplish is really the meat of this digital touch. Email communication affords donors an easy one-click opportunity to connect to your organization’s digital presence—website, social media, newsletters, premiums, or opt-ins. You’ll want to be sure those opportunities are visible but not overstated. This is first and foremost a thank you, not another appeal.

What about donors who give online? Are you thinking, “Don’t they receive an auto-thank you through the gift-processing system?” Glad you asked! Likely they do. But think of how much a second, more personal email, can do to reinforce your gratitude and let the donors know they and their contributions are appreciated!

Saying thank you never goes out of style. Your donors will always appreciate receiving a personal thank-you and mention of the impact of their donation.

Still to come in this series, more thoughts on communicating appreciation and successful methods of connecting your donors to the good work they’re helping accomplish.

This post was adapted from the Five Maples resource A How to Guide for Keeping First Time Donors.

Tags: , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply