welcome email series

Turn New Supporters Into Strong Supporters

First impressions are important. A donor’s first experience with your organization should be a good one as it can be the difference between turning them into a repeat supporter or someone who gives once and never again. 

Studies show that donor retention is one of the best ways to boost your nonprofit’s bottom line because it’s easier to satisfy a supporter who has already given and who is already interested in your organization than to try to recruit brand new donors from scratch. 

In other words, it costs less time and money to cultivate repeat donors than to always try to acquire new ones. One great way to do that is through a welcome email series that is created to engage new donors or constituents right away.

What is a welcome email series?

A welcome email series helps you stay top of mind and builds trust with first-time donors. Studies tell us that thanking donors right away helps them feel important and satisfied about their gift. A welcome email series can help with that, taking a new supporter to a strong “friend” of the organization with very little effort on your part. 

Here’s how you can get started: After someone makes a donation, send them one email per week for three weeks. This series of emails will be different from your standard newsletter and updates. If you have a good donor management software or email marketing program, then you can program these emails to trigger automatically when someone gives you a first-time donation.

What should you include in a welcome email series? 

Stories help personalize your mission and show real impact with real people. Select stories of transformation to include in these emails to show how your organization is making a real difference in the lives of those you serve. 

Tip: You can use “old” stories for this series because they are new to your new supporter! 

Email #1: Thank the donor

In this email, thank the donor for taking the leap of faith and supporting your organization! 

This is a good place to present one of your strongest stories. After the story, you could say something like, “Thanks to your contribution, people like ______ are getting the help they deserve.” 

You won’t want to make another ask in this email. Instead, provide them with a next step on how to get more involved. You could include some information on volunteering, provide a link to your website, or share a short video they can watch (and hopefully share) about your organization.

Email #2: Demonstrate more impact

Share another powerful story here. 

Remember, every organization has multiple stories to share because every organization has multiple people involved. Stories could be about beneficiaries or they could be about staff members, volunteers, board members, or even other donors. Use this email to show how your organization benefits people in different ways. 

After you’ve shared a second story, consider including some data that demonstrates the reach of your organization. The most important thing when showing impact is making the donor the hero of the story. Say things like, “All of this is made possible because of supporters like you.” By making them the hero of the story, they are more likely to see why their donation and support is so needed—and be inspired to give again.

Email #3: Make another ask

Week three is where you want to invite the newcomer into the “family.” 

Share another compelling story for your third email and then invite the donor to become a monthly donor. Be sure to demonstrate what a monthly donation would allow your organization to do by giving the donor tangible results for what their gift could provide. Check out these tips for starting a monthly giving program

Once you have a welcome email series in place, you should see better donor retention results and maybe even turn some of those one-time donors into monthly donors! 

Madison Gonzalez

Madison Gonzalez

Advancement Director at Morning Light, Inc.
Madison Gonzalez is a National Public Speaker, Storyteller of the Year Award-Winner, Best-Selling Author of Dear Mirror, Events Manager, and Published Poet. She is also the Advancement Director at Morning Light, Inc., and Indianapolis-based nonprofit that fosters community programs in Indiana for the terminally ill, seniors, families and the home-bound. As a storytelling coach and consultant, it is her mission to empower others to share their stories for impact and income. Madison can be reached at madison@toldcoaching.com.