In 2014, we released the results from our first $5 experiment. We’re excited to release the 2015 edition, which tracked donor communications from 50 random Chicago-area nonprofits.

This year, we examined how nonprofits followed-up after a gift within 14 days. Rather than focusing on speed, we focused on the type and amount of touches made after the gift.

You can see the results in the infographic below:

Chicago_Infog-final

Methodology:

  • Each donation was made on the afternoon of May 21st, 2015.
  • All 50 of the nonprofits were chosen at random.
  • All 50 of the nonprofits had a field for phone #.
  • All donations were made online.
  • We used a real name, real address, real phone # and real email address.
  • We gave them any contact information they asked for, even if it wasn’t required.
  • Each donation constituted a first-time donation to that org. In other words, it was a new entry into their database.
  • We avoided third-party giving pages, like PayPal, Network For Good, etc.

Donation Page Anatomy:

  • 20/50 required a phone #
  • 41/50 had a recurring gift option
  • 41/50 had giving level options
  • 12/50 had an employee matching option
  • 14/50 gave a choice of funds

The Results:

Highlights:

  • 45/50 organizations sent a gift acknowledgement by email immediately following the donation.
  • Out of the 5 who did not send¬†a gift acknowledgement by email immediately following the donation:
    • 1/5 sent an email acknowledgement three days later
    • 1/5 sent an email appeal 10 days later (has never acknowledged gift)
    • 1/5 has sent no communication whatsoever
    • 1/5 sent a handwritten note by mail
    • 1/5 sent a letter by mail
  • Out of 14 letters sent by mail, 10 included a handwritten signature.
  • Only 8 organizations made some kind of additional appeal within 14 days.
    • 2/8 appeals were included in a gift acknowledgement letter by mail
  • Only 1 organization sent a new donor survey
  • 2/50 sent a handwritten note by mail
  • 0/50 organizations made a phone call
  • 0/50 organizations reached out on social media
  • 2/50 organizations did not acknowledge the gift

First-Touch:

49/50 organizations made a first-touch within 14 days (98%).

  • 46/50 sent a sent a gift acknowledgement by email
  • 1/50 sent a gift acknowledgement by handwritten note by¬†mail
  • 1/50 sent a gift acknowledgement letter by¬†mail
  • 1/50 sent an email appeal

Second-Touch:

23/50 organizations made a second-touch within 14 days (46%).

  • 10/50 sent a gift acknowledgement letter by¬†mail
  • 5/50 sent a gift acknowledgement by email
  • 1/50 sent a gift acknowledgement by text message
  • 1/50 sent a gift acknowledgement handwritten note by¬†mail
  • 5/50 sent an email newsletter
  • 1/50 sent an email appeal

Third-Touch:

9/50 organizations made a third-touch within 14 days (18%).

  • 2/50 sent a gift acknowledgement by email
  • 3/50 sent an email appeal
  • 2/50 sent an email newsletter
  • 1/50 sent a gift acknowledgement letter by¬†mail
  • 1/50 sent a new donor survey by email

Fourth-Touch:

5/50 organizations made a fourth-touch within 14 days (10%).

  • 2/50 sent an email appeal
  • 2/50 sent a gift acknowledgement¬†letter by¬†mail
  • 1/50 sent an email newsletter

Fifth-Touch:

1/50 organizations made a fifth-touch within 14 days (2%).

  • 1/50 sent a¬†gift¬†acknowledgement letter by¬†mail

Sixth-Touch:

1/50 organizations made a sixth-touch within 14 days (2%).

  • 1/50 sent an email newsletter

For help crafting the perfect gift acknowledgement letter, download our free Basic Thank You Letter Template here >>

Full 14 Day Cadence:

Org1st-Touch2nd-Touch3rd-Touch4th-Touch
#1Email Receipt
#2Email Receipt
#3Email ReceiptEmail NewsletterEmail AcknowledgementEmail Appeal
#4Email ReceiptText Message ReceiptEmail Acknowledgement
#5Email ReceiptEmail AcknowledgementEmail Appeal

 

Org1st-Touch2nd-Touch3rd-Touch4th-Touch
#6Email ReceiptEmail AcknowledgementEmail AppealMail Appeal / Acknowledgement
#7Email ReceiptMail Acknowledgement
#8Email Receipt
#9Email ReceiptEmail Appeal
#10Email ReceiptEmail Acknowledgement

 

Org1st-Touch2nd-Touch3rd-Touch4th-Touch
#11Email Receipt
#12Email ReceiptEmail Newsletter
#13Email ReceiptEmail NewsletterEmail NewsletterMail Acknowledgement
#14Email ReceiptMail Acknowledgement
#15Email Receipt

 

Org1st-Touch2nd-Touch3rd-Touch4th-Touch
#16Email ReceiptMail Acknowledgement
#17Email ReceiptEmail AcknowledgementEmail Appeal
#18Email ReceiptMail Acknowledgement
#19Email Appeal
#20Mail Handwritten Note

 

Org1st-Touch2nd-Touch3rd-Touch4th-Touch
#21Email ReceiptEmail AppealEmail SurveyEmail Appeal
#22Email Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—
#23Email Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—
#24Email Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—
#25Email ReceiptMail Acknowledgement¬†—¬†—

 

Org1st-Touch2nd-Touch3rd-Touch4th-Touch
#26Email ReceiptMail Appeal / Acknowledgement¬†—¬†—
#27Email Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—
#28Email Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—
#29Email ReceiptMail Acknowledgement¬†—¬†—
#30Email Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—

 

Org1st-Touch2nd-Touch3rd-Touch4th-Touch
#31Email Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—
#32Email Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—
#33Email ReceiptMail Acknowledgement¬†—¬†—
#34Email Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—
#35Email Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—

 

Org1st-Touch2nd-Touch3rd-Touch4th-Touch
#36Email Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—
#37Email ReceiptMail¬†Handwritten Note¬†—¬†—
#38¬†—¬†—¬†—¬†—
#39Email Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—
#40Email Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—

 

Org1st-Touch2nd-Touch3rd-Touch4th-Touch
#41Email ReceiptMail Acknowledgement¬†—¬†—
#42Email Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—
#43Email Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—
#44Email ReceiptMail Acknowledgement¬†—¬†—
#45Email ReceiptEmail AcknowledgementMail Acknowledgement¬†—

 

Org1st-Touch2nd-Touch3rd-Touch4th-Touch5th-Touch6th-Touch
#46Email Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—¬†¬†—¬†—
#47Email Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—¬†¬†—¬†¬†—
#48Mail Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—¬†¬†—¬†¬†—
#49Email Receipt¬†—¬†—¬†—¬†¬†—¬†¬†—
#50Email ReceiptEmail NewsletterEmail NewsletterEmail NewsletterMail AcknowledgementEmail Newsletter

 

What do you think of the results? Should the nonprofits have done something differently? How does your organization follow-up with new donors? Let us know in the comments below!

gift acknowledgment program

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. She also serves as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.
Kristen Hay