Your First-Time Online Donors Are at Risk!

Here’s a worrisome problem with online gifts. (Let’s make our problem into our opportunity here!)

Did you know that donors who make their first gift to an organization via email are much less likely to renew their gift than those who give through the mail?

As direct mail guru Mal Warwick said recently in the 09 Year End Fundraising Strategies Telesummit, “What we have been discovering ironically is that lots of people seem to be wiling to make a first time gift online. But of course these numbers are relatively small compared to people who make first time gifts by mail or phone.”

BUT we have trouble renewing our on-line donors, by and large.”

Donors ARE likely to respond to a direct mail appeal after they’ve given once online.  Even though they probably would not ever give a second gift on line.

Here’s how you solve the problem: Provide incentives to donors to furnish their street addresses and then use the mail to get hold of them.

Of course, getting their phone number would probably work even better. But it’s going to be harder to get their phone number.

If you had their phone number, then you could phone donors to thank them for their gift – ALWAYS the best strategy.

So the moral of this story?

1.  Pay very careful attention to your donors who are giving online.

2.  Track the people who make a first time gift online.Create a monthly or weekly report that gives you the names and amounts of first time online donors.

3.  Create something appealing to your first time online donors that will incline them to give you their address. Perhaps it’s something free that you might send them, or tell them that you have a special thank you package for first-time donors that you’d like to send them by mail. Would they like to get your catalog? Or would they like to join your mailing list for alerts?

4. Followup by mail with those who provide their street addresses. Send them a special thank you package that makes them feel very special.

5. Put them on your list for future direct mail appeals.

If you don’t follow this strategy – you will likely lose those donors because they will not repeat their gift.  And I know you want to keep them!