The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

New Donor Bonding: The Amazing Value of Loyal Donors

New donor acquisition is the life blood of your organization.

In order to grow, and reap the benefit of increased revenue, you must acquire more new donors each year than you lose plus more to fuel growth. The most successful nonprofit organizations have ongoing acquisition programs that generate a steady stream of new donors.

But, even the most successful acquisition programs can fail if the newly acquired donors do not continue their support beyond their first gift. That’s why new donor bonding efforts are so vitally important.

This Merkle|Domain white paper shares how America’s Second Harvest dramatically improved the performance of their new donors and built incredibly strong donor loyalty. You can achieve the same results!

Here are the key principles to follow as you welcome new donors to your organization.

  1. Immediately thank new donors for their first gift and affirm the excellent choice they made to support your work.
  2. New donors should receive sufficient information about your organization’s vision and accomplishments that they begin to gain a thorough understanding of how their gifts are being used.
  3. Work extremely hard to obtain a second gift from new donors as quickly as possible. New donors who give a second gift relatively soon after their first gift will continue their support at a rate two or more times greater than those who do not give again right away.

The America’s Second Harvest New Donor Bonding/Welcome Program follows this timeline:

  • $ First Gift Received $
  • No Gift Ask Affirmation Letter mailed to new donor
  • Gift Acknowledgement/Receipt Package mailed to new donor, second gift opportunity included
  • “How to End Hunger in America Guidebook” mailed to new donor, second gift opportunity included

Three Impacts That Helped Increase Donor Loyalty

  1. Affirmation Letter This fully personalized affirmation letter mails to new donors as soon as their first gift is received. It’s mailed first class. There is no gift ask or reply envelope. The single purpose of the letter is to affirm the new donor and welcome them to the community of “caring people working to end hunger in our country.”
  2. Official Gift Acknowledgment/Receipt Package The America’s Second Harvest official gift receipt package contains strong donor affirmation content that focuses on the core mission to fight hunger in America. The outer envelope carries this message as does every piece inside.

    Note how the gift receipt reinforces the core message “Official receipt to help end hunger in America.” Even the bounce-back coupon carries this vital message.

  3. Personal Guidebook As the final step in the new donor bonding effort, this package presents a positive solution to hunger in America. The package components include:
    • A personal guidebook packed with the history, mission, and methods of America’s Second Harvest.
    • A lift note from former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman.
    • A communications preference card giving donors the opportunity to express their opinion about how they want to be communicated with, thereby giving them control and choice in their relationship with America’s Second Harvest.
    • A gift response coupon.


Source: Merkle Orange Papers
Copyright © 2007 Merkle Inc.
All rights reserved

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Carrie Saracini
Content Marketing Manager

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