Making the most of your online donors

publication date: Aug 2, 2011
What are the early signs that a new donor will have a high long-term value? US consulting firm Amergent says it's found two indicators: they make a second gift in their first year, and they trust you with their email address. The "secret" to getting and keeping multi-channel donors, they explain, is no secret at all - just good old donor stewardship.

Ask early, ask often

Donors making that second gift within their first 12 months are twice as likely to make another gift in their second year - an encouraging signal for retention. Among Amergent's clients, donors who gave twice in their first year renewed in year two at 56%, while the rate for one-time givers was just 28%.

That means, says Amergent, that an intensive program of thanking, welcoming and soliciting new donors is well worth it. And shorten the time, they urge, between that first gift and a further solicitation. Their research shows an increased retention rate if you can get a second gift from a new donor within 100 days of the first gift. Use your most successful themes and messages early in the relationships to encourage that early second gift.

Collect those email contacts

Donors that give you their email address can have an average value up to 2.5 times higher than similar donors not sharing that contact. Amergent found that their retention rate is slightly higher, their rate of gifts per donor is 50% better, and their average gift is 67% higher.

Having the email address gives you more ways to communicate with the donor. It may also be a signal that the relationship is stronger right from the start. And other Amerigent research found that using email to support direct mail appeals can increase gifts from email recipients by 10%.

Download Amergent's white paper, Making Virtual Friends for Life

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