What’s missing from your new donor welcome kit?

May 26, 2022

It’s no secret. Nonprofits raise more money when they acquire long-term donors who give again and again over time. Yet, many fundraisers still struggle with donor retention. And one of the main reasons is because they do not have a compelling new donor welcome kit.

It’s important to make the most of the feeling a donor gets after they give. They will be excited that they made an impact on a cause that’s important to them.

But these donors will disappear if your nonprofit doesn’t start building relationships right away. In fact, they often find other organizations with similar goals that make a better effort to welcome first-time donors. If you don’t put in the effort to retain donors, another organization will.

And that’s why a new donor welcome kit is one of the most important touchpoints in your nonprofit’s communications strategy.

These are the essential elements you will need to include.

Your welcome letter should be short, sweet, and show donors how much their support means to you.

1. The welcome letter.

Your new donor welcome kit is your first chance to adequately thank a donor after they give for the first time. Of course, a new donor has already received an automated email with their donation receipt and a thank you note.

But your welcome letter is your first chance to start going further and build a relationship with your new donor.

So, keep this letter simple and to the point. First, thank them for giving to your organization and welcome them into your community. Be very grateful for a new donor’s generosity and share how their first gift is already making an impact on your mission.

The goal is to show a donor how important their support is to you.

READ MORE: When communications flow, relationships grow!

Download eBook: Donor Retention - Are you deserving of long term support?

2. Explain your why.

Do you already have a brochure or one-sheet that explains why your work is so important, why you need help, and why a donor should use your organization to make an impact on a cause they care about?

If so, great! Including this document as part of your new donor welcome kit is a great way to repurpose your nonprofit’s existing content!

This piece of your new donor welcome kit should be filled with powerful images that show the impact and importance of your nonprofit’s work. You can also showcase key facts and statistics about your mission that new donors are unaware of.

It’s all about showing first-time donors why you still need their help and why they should continue to make an impact by supporting your nonprofit.

READ MORE: The four principles of visual storytelling.

Keep your survey short. Donors need time to explore the other items in your welcome kit too!

3. Ask some questions.

As you know, donor surveys are powerful tools for nonprofits.

Not only do they give you valuable feedback about how your audience feels about your work and outreach. But it’s also a great way to learn a little more about your new donors!

Anything you learn about a first-time donor from the survey in your new donor welcome kit can be used to make your outreach more personal and relevant in the future.

So, ask if they have any communication preferences so you can focus on the channels where donors are most likely to absorb your message. And find out if there are any aspects of your mission that spoke to them most.

But remember not to overload your new donors with a long list of questions. It’s important to keep every donor survey short and to the point. But this is especially true when you use one in your new donor welcome kit.

There are many pieces that donors will dig through as they determine if they want to continue supporting your organization. So, it’s important not to take up too much of their time with your new donor survey.

READ MORE: Why your nonprofit should be using donor surveys.

Send some swag so supporters can represent their favorite nonprofit like they would their favorite sports team!

4. Send some swag.

If you’re a sports fan, you’ve probably worn your team’s jersey on the day of a big game. It’s a great way to let everyone know the team is important to you and has your support.

And you probably use the term “we” when you talk about your team, even though you’re not actually on the field. You feel like you are part of something bigger than yourself. And you want everyone to know it!

And this is also the way you want donors to feel about your nonprofit and its mission. And many of your supporters probably do!

So, include some merchandise featuring your nonprofit’s brand in your new donor welcome kit.

T-shirts, magnets, hats, and bumper stickers are all great options. Excited donors will wear or display them with pride as they begin to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.

READ MORE: How to show donors the impact of every donation.

Be tactful, not timid. New donors may give again right away if you make a soft ask in your welcome kit.

5. Let them know there’s a way to go.

It’s great that someone decided to give to your organization for the first time. And although they have made an impact, your mission hasn’t been fulfilled!

Some may question if it’s appropriate to make another ask so soon after someone’s first donation. But we find that if your new donor welcome kit does an outstanding job of helping new supporters feel like part of your family, they may be eager to give again right away.

And a donor who makes a second donation within three months of their first has a 987 percent higher average value over five years than a donor who gives once, according to data from Analytical Ones.

So be tactful, not timid.

Let new donors know how much you appreciate the impact they’ve made so far. Then let them know how much work still needs to be done!

They may decide not to wait until your next appeal and make another gift right away!

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