Wooing Less Committed Donors

Let me start by saying this is not another blog about the ALS challenge.

Yes, it’s been amazing. And yes, it proves that when celebrity, social media and peer-to-peer energy align perfectly, magic happens.

But that’s not what this is about.

This blog is about what happens six months to a year from now … when ALS works to convert the thousands (maybe millions) of new donors into regular supporters. 

Many nonprofits faced a similar challenge in the months and years following 9/11. The outpouring of generosity was nothing short of astounding. But when the mood faded, keeping the donations flowing in proved difficult.

If your nonprofit has brought in a sizeable number of new supporters, you may be wondering “What’s next?”

Here are a few tips to maximize your success:
  1. Act Fast—Don’t wait to start communicating with your new donors. Following the moment of donation, begin thinking about what they’ll hear from you. The longer you take, the less likely you’ll retain them. Be sure to collect email addresses to make this easier.
  2. Remind Them of Their Commitment—Tap into the emotion that made them give in the first place. Reinforce how they will feel when they make another gift. If they gave through a friend or loved one, remind them of that, too.
  3. Create a Separate Communication Track—Many nonprofits simply put their new donors into the standard stream of donor communications. Take a critical look if that even makes sense. Their commitment may not rise to the level of the rest of your donor base. How can you customize your communications to address that or orient them to the organization?
  4. Know When to Cut Your Losses—Hard as it is to say, some donors will NEVER convert. There, I said it. Consider how long and how much you’ll invest in cultivating less committed donors, and then hold firm to your choice. You’ll be glad you did.