A nonprofit’s donor communications strategy can make or break the relationship with a donor. It’s even more critical for first-time donors, 77.1% of which lapse on average.
We were curious how the average nonprofit follows up with a first-time donor. That’s why we made a $5 donation to 50 individual nonprofits in the Indianapolis-metro area. This is how they followed-up:
- Each donation was made on the afternoon of July 18th, 2014.
- All 50 donations were made within 60 minutes.
- All 50 of the nonprofits were chosen at random.
- All of the donations were made online through their websites.
- We used a real name, real address, real phone # and real email address.
- Each donation constituted a first-time donation to that org. In other words, it was a new entry into their database.
48/50 (96%) sent an email receipt within 60 seconds of the donation (first response).
- 22/48 emails were from the payment processor.
- 26/48 emails were branded from the organization.
- 5/22 organizations who sent payment processor emails also sent a branded email acknowledgement shortly after.
2/50 (4%) have sent no acknowledgement of any kind. 0/50 (0%) made thank you phone calls.
- 19/50 (38%) asked for a phone # on the donation form.
17/50 (34%) sent a physical acknowledgement letter through the mail as the second response.
- The fastest letter came within 5 days of the gift
- The slowest letter came within 13 days of the gift
- 2/17 included a brochure or piece of printed collateral
- 2/17 included a hand-written note
- 1/17 asked for a response
10/50 (20%) sent an email as the second response.
- 5/10 came on the same day as the donation
- 1/10 came 1 day after donation
- 2/10 came 3 days after donation
- 2/10 came 13 days after donation
3/50 (6%) sent a physical acknowledgement letter through the mail as the third response.
- 1/3 included a hand-written note
2/50 (4%) sent an email as the third response.
For help crafting the perfect gift acknowledgement letter, download our free Basic Thank You Letter Template here >>
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!