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Onboarding New Donors to Increase Engagement

Many nonprofits have seen increased giving during COVID-19. Here are our recommendations for transitioning first-time donors into your highly engaged supporters.


Engaging donors during this time shouldn't be much different than your year-round engagement strategies. But it does warrant a few special considerations. All of your engagement will be virtual, and data has indicated that COVID-era donors are trending younger than a typical donor base.

With this in mind, we recommend the following four tips for engaging donors during this time.


1. Segment

Now more than ever, it's important to think about sending the right message to the right audiences through the right channels. Funnel each new donor into a segment based on the information you gathered when they made their gift. Your future communications with this donor will be tailored to them and others like them. Automate as many steps of this process as possible so communications are going out in a timely fashion.


2. Acknowledge & Welcome

Your very first communication to new donors must be an authentic acknowledgment of their gift. While acknowledging a donor's gift is not new, try pairing it with a welcome letter to your organization's inner circle that is tailored specifically to that donor's interests. Send it as close as possible to the time of the donation. This will make a critical first impression on your new donor and maximize their enthusiasm for supporting your organization.

3. Educate

Share original content, impact stories, blog posts, advocacy tips, and anything else related to your core mission through a series of email campaigns. Tell and show your donor how their gift is making a difference to your mission. Monitor email analytics to know which content is more engaging among each donor segment. This will inform future communications, too. Again, automation can be a huge time saver here.


4. Engage

Give your new donors options to get more involved and provide value to your organization in ways other than financial support. Invite them to volunteer, serve on a committee, or share your social media posts on their personal networks. If you've provided ways for them to apply their unique talents to your mission, they'll feel like they are part of your organization and will be more inclined to donate financially again in the future.

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