Since day one, Bloomerang’s focus has been to help increase donor retention in the nonprofit world. We remain true to that mission as we announce a new feature that will revolutionize how fundraisers increase donor loyalty.

Among all of the varied types of donors that your organization engages with, first-time donors are at the highest risk of lapsing. According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, the average retention rate among donors who have only given one — their first — gift to a nonprofit is around 20%. That means that 8 out of 10 first-time donors never give again. But, if you can get a second gift or a monthly commitment, those retention rates triple or quadruple in some cases.

So how do you get that next gift from first-time donors? Pretty much every research study into donor loyalty suggests that the best thing you can do for donors, especially new donors, is to thank them quickly and personally. In today’s impersonal, digital age, no method of communication will stand out more than a phone call.

McConkey International UK found that first-time donors who get a personal thank you within 48 hours are four times more likely to give a second gift. Penelope Burk, author of Donor-Centered Fundraising, and Donor-Centered Leadership, says that a thank-you call from a board member to a new donor within 24 hours of their gift will increase their next gift by 39%. Our own internal research confirms these findings.

We recognize that it isn’t always possible to call all first-time donors, so how can you prioritize who to call? Bloomerang is here to help!

Introducing First-Time Donor Calls

With First-Time Donor Calls, Bloomerang is taking the guesswork out of which donors should be called and when. When a constituent donates for the first time, Bloomerang looks at a number of factors and automatically prioritizes the top 5 first-time donors you should call directly on the Bloomerang dashboard. It’s based off more than just the gift amount, as certain donors have a much higher affinity and ability to continue giving than others.  

Assigning First-Time Donor Calls

The First-Time Donor Calls tile includes details about the gift directly on the dashboard. Having this information allows you to quickly assess whether you should make the call, or if it’s a follow-up that should be assigned to a board member or another person on staff. Assigning the call creates a Task in Bloomerang, so you can track who is following up with the Donor. The assignee will receive a task notification email with details about the first-time donor and their gift. The assignee can reply to the email once the call is complete, and the task will be marked complete in Bloomerang.  

As we all know, it won’t be possible to reach every first-time donor via a phone call. Leaving a voicemail is totally acceptable, or sending an email works too. It’s really about showing your donors they matter. When calling first-time donors, use it as an opportunity to get to know them. Ask them what made them give in the first place. I realize this may sound like a lot of work, but remember, Bloomerang is taking the guesswork out of who to prioritize first. So, even if all you have time for is one call a week, make first-time donor calls part of your organization’s donor retention strategy.    

For additional tips on how to communicate with your first-time donors, checkout Bloomerang’s free downloadable First-Time Donor Communication Plan

Bloomerang’s commitment to helping the nonprofit sector combat donor retention means you are not in this alone. If you have any questions or would like to share your donor retention journey with us, the Bloomerang Team would love to hear from you!

Jessica Hartnagle

Jessica Hartnagle

VP of Product Management at Bloomerang
Jessica Hartnagle is the VP of Product Management at Bloomerang. She has over 15 years of experience consulting and implementing nonprofit donor CRM systems.