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Proven Ways To Improve Donor Retention

When someone makes a donation to your organization, don’t just think “whew!” and move on. Your thank you letter should be short, prompt, and precise about how the donation will help. Include the exact amount of the gift plus tax-deduction information, such as “We are a 501(c)(3) charitable organization so your gift may be tax-deductible.” Also, include an inexpensive thank-you gift that fits in the envelope such as a prayer card for a religious organization, a piece of art done by a client, a photo of a person assisted by your organization, a bookmark with your logo and address — the possibilities are many but should reflect the work of your charity. Include a prepaid envelope to encourage a follow-up gift.

If the gift is one you would classify as “major,” the donor should receive a telephone call from an executive or board member as well as the thank you letter. During this call, invite the donor to lunch or to a special event.

That first gift signals that the donor is interested in the charity and may be open to a longterm relationship. If you do not have a newsletter, consider publishing one you can send to one-time and repeat donors. Send them invitations to events. If you do not hold events, consider building these into your plan: an open house, a picnic, a special dinner, a gala. Events can be as elaborate or as simple as time and budget permit.

Donors like to be included in the charity’s work and are a good source of volunteers. Do not be afraid to ask them to help out. You could send a checklist of ways they can be more involved. Just make sure the volunteer activities are meaningful and needed.