Five Maples’ Direct Mail Fundraising Blog

Wish your first-time donor renewal rates were higher? Part 4: Show them the impact of their giving

Say thank you. Then follow up with results.

This series of posts on improving your first-time donor retention has stressed the truism: Saying thank you never goes out of style.

There is no greater way of thanking your donors than showing them the impact of their generosity.

At heart, your donors want to know: Why did my donation matter?

A Donor Impact Report is a great way to communicate what their gifts accomplish, what change was made possible, and whose lives were impacted. Here’s an example.

guide-for-keeping-first-time-donors-5

We recommend sending a donor impact report two to four times per year to all donors who gave in the last three years.

Keep some donor impact reports on hand in your office. Then, either include the most recent donor impact report in your first thank you note, or, follow-up the thank you note with a first-time donor report package that will include:

  • A most recent donor impact report.
  • A personal note (or even a post-it-note) thanking the donor, and saying, “I thought you would enjoy reading this Donor Impact Report.”
  • An invitation to give again and/or to join your monthly/sustainer giving program, or a soft ask in the form of a donation reply envelope.

Your donor impact report doesn’t celebrate your organization’s work. Instead, it positions your donors as the heroes who are getting it done.

By adapting impact stories from newsletters, profiles, correspondence, and interviews, this report directly links the donor to the work being accomplished and those touched by that work.

If yours is an educational institution—here’s a student whose life has been impacted. If a healthcare organization—here’s a patient who benefited. If a community outreach—here is one of your neighbors you’ve helped.

Donor impact reports feature and celebrate your donors’ impact—a vital part your donor retention strategy.

Next in this series, we’ll take a look at analyzing and evaluating your pool of donors to determine their capacity and propensity to give.

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

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