Giving Tuesday will bring in lots of new donors for your cause, but how can you build on this momentum after this global day of giving is over? We've got some best practices for thanking your Giving Tuesday donors and keeping your relationship with them growing well into the new year.
What is donor retention and why saying thank you matters
Donor retention is nonprofit lingo that basically means to ensure your Giving Tuesday donors don't give just this once. It can be easy to only focus on raising the funds you need on Giving Tuesday. However, thanking your donors and fostering relationships with them (often referred to as donor stewardship) should not be an afterthought.
In fact, recent GuideStar data showed that 20% of first-time donors don't repeat their gift the following year. However, donors who receive a thank-you message within 48 hours are four times more likely to give again. Sounds like a crafting message of gratitude should be the first step of your Giving Tuesday donor retention plan!
6 ways to boost donor retention through your Giving Tuesday thank-you messages
Discuss these donor retention best practices with your team and develop a Giving Tuesday game plan for following up with supporters.
Make your Giving Tuesday thank-yous prompt and personal 🙏
We all want recognition for our good deeds and contributions, and a simple but genuine thank-you can go a long way. While it's great to have automated donor messages with a brief thank-you and their receipt sent right after someone donates, sending additional, personalized messages to your supporters is equally important. There are lots of ways to make your thank-yous personal, including:
- Email: Send engaging thank-you emails that feature donors’ first name and their specific gift amount. Make your supporters feel special by addressing them directly rather than everyone as one big, homogenous group.
- Text: Say thank you to many supporters at once with personalized text messages. Along with donors' individual names, your SMS text blasts can include a photo or a GIF to differentiate them from the spammy texts everyone gets.
- Video: Record special Giving Tuesday thank-you videos to send out the day after Giving Tuesday. Supporters will be surprised and delighted by a kind message from a real, human face.
- Phone: Taking the time to make personal phone calls to supporters to say thank you can mean a lot—and make your organization stand out.
- Mail: Consider requesting supporters' mailing addresses through your donation form, so you can send handwritten thank-you notes. Host a thank-a-thon party with your team to write cards and stuff envelopes to make it a fun (and streamlined!) process.
- Merch: Whether or not you offered perks for different donation levels, it's great to include fun swag in your thank-you notes. This can be as simple as stickers that easily fit into the envelopes you’re already planning to send out. Customize your donation forms to get the information you need, like mailing address and t-shirt size, ahead of time.
No matter which format you choose to share your gratitude, your thank-you message should:
- Share your campaign's results: Let people know the outcome of your campaign and how their contribution will help further your mission.
- Be relevant to its readers: Segment your Giving Tuesday thank-you messages between existing donors and brand new donors. That way, the wording of your messages can fit the circumstances of each donor's unique giving history.
- Use donor-centric language: Highlight the value of your donors’ contributions in the success of your campaign. Use words like you, together, and us.
- Speak to a real person, from a real person: Sign off your email or note with your Executive Director's name or signatures from your team.
- NOT ask for another gift: Prove to your supporters that you are interested in building a personal relationship with them—and not just after their wallets. There are lots of other ways to engage supporters without making a financial appeal. Instead of asking for more money, focus on thanking them and demonstrating the real-life impact they’re making through your organization.
Empower donors by confirming that they helped you reach your goal 📣
People who invest time and money in something want to see it pay off! Keep everyone updated throughout your campaign to maintain transparency and leave donors feeling like they are part of something greater than themselves this Giving Tuesday. Givebutter makes it easy to communicate your progress toward your goal with campaign supporters, with engaging features like:
- Livestream: Livestream your campaign on your fundraising page and social media profiles to share your progress and acknowledge donors by name in real-time.
- Goal bar: Everyone can see your fundraiser’s progress by visiting your campaign page and seeing the goal bar inching closer and closer to success. Don’t forget to track offline donations to keep the momentum going!
- Supporter feed: Share campaign updates and interact directly with donors on a lively supporter feed. You even pin special messages you want to highlight.
Set up a welcome email series 👋
Welcome your new supporters in a series of automated emails a few days after Giving Tuesday (and any other thank-you emails that have gone out). Any new person who has donated or just joined your email list on Giving Tuesday obviously cares about your cause. However, they may still have a lot to learn about your organization's impact and why they should stay engaged.
A successful welcome email series should:
- Share the mission and ethos of your organization: Make it crystal clear why and how your organization is a leader in your field.
- Update readers on your most relevant content: New supporters know very little about your organization; even old news to you is news to them! Share your most popular blog posts, social media graphics, or news articles about your mission.
- Include stories: Share testimonials or personal anecdotes from people directly impacted by your organization.
- Spread messages out over time: Aim to be consistent in your messaging without overwhelming supporters’ inboxes. Spread out your communication cadence to a weekly email to keep people engaged and lower the risk of folks hitting unsubscribe.
Offer recurring donation options 🔁
It almost doesn't need to be said: The easiest way to have donors give again is to encourage them to give again! Give supporters the option to sign up for recurring donations and make it easy to give monthly, quarterly, or annually from the get-go.
Not only will this help boost donor retention and donated funds over time, but the option to give recurring donations appeals to younger donors, too. According to Nonprofits Source, 52% of Millennials are more likely to give monthly over a large one-time donation, and Gen Z has similar donation preferences.
Offer company-employee matching gifts 🎁
Did you know that donors are 84% more likely to donate if you offer a match? Even if you can't secure a major match gift for your campaign, you could still inspire donors to not only give but bring in double the donated amount by promoting employer matching programs. In fact, Tech Soup reports that the average donation amount increases by 51% when a match is offered.
Givebutter integrates directly with Double the Donation, which you can easily add to any Givebutter donation form. Double the Donation will identify any employer matching gift programs available to anyone contributing to your campaign. More than $4B in matching gift revenue is left on the table every year—make sure you aren't missing out!
Share ways to get involved besides donating ✊
Those who invested in your cause did so because they genuinely care about making a difference. Suppose you only reach out during the times your organization is asking for money. In that case, they could end up feeling disconnected from the solutions they're financially supporting. Offer a variety of meaningful ways to get involved to build relationships with your donors, show them the impact they're making, and offer them a sense of community.
Engage with supporters regularly by:
- Encouraging volunteer signups
- Sending out a regular newsletter
- Posting on your social media accounts
- Sharing advocacy opportunities
- Inviting supporters to tours and events
- Sharing any in-kind needs
Activate advocates this Giving Tuesday with Givebutter
We're providing you with all the tools and resources you need to transform first-time donors into passionate ambassadors of your cause. With 160+ free fundraising features, we can't wait to see how you use Givebutter to rally support this Giving Tuesday and beyond.
Ready to make your Giving Tuesday campaign butter than ever this year? Create your free account on Givebutter today.
Plus, verified nonprofits could receive a $5K donation from Givebutter this Giving Tuesday!