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Retain new donors with a simple welcome process

Posted July 19, 2023 by Virginia Davidson

Retain new donors with a simple welcome process

Are you maximizing the opportunity to retain your new donors as repeat donors? Many first-time donors won’t contribute again. Unfortunately, that means lost opportunities for your organization. But developing a welcome process for new donors can help you retain them.

How to maximize the opportunity to retain your new donors

Make your gift acknowledgment count

Since donor retention is key to successful fundraising efforts, it’s worth the time and effort to make first-time donors feel welcome, appreciated, and informed. To accomplish all that, it’s important to move beyond a standard tax acknowledgment letter for the first-time donor. Make that first gift acknowledgment feel welcoming rather than transactional or routine. The donor took the leap to make a gift to your organization for the first time, so your acknowledgment letter should demonstrate to the donor that you recognize this milestone. Also include direct contact information so the donor knows how to reach out with any questions. Consider including your most recent printed newsletter or other printed material that will help a first-time donor get familiarized with your organization.

Engage with new donors beyond the gift acknowledgment

Beyond creating an acknowledgment template specifically for first-time donors, your welcome process should include at least one other way you’ll engage with them within the month following their gift. This could be an email series for new donors, a comprehensive welcome packet that you’ll mail separately from the gift acknowledgment, a handwritten thank you from a board member, or a thank-you phone call. If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of making phone calls, check out this resource for advice.

Keep things manageable

Whatever you choose for your welcome process, be sure it’s manageable for your organization’s capacity. A plan that can’t be implemented doesn’t have value, but a welcome process that you can stick to will help you retain first-time donors.


There’s no guarantee that a first-time donor will become a long-term supporter of your organization. Develop a welcome process for first-time donors and increase donor retention for your organization.

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