By: Scott Jones, Fundraising Auctioneer, CFRE

I have invested a lot of study and research lately on Donor Welcome Kits.  How important are they truly? My thoughts align with this content below.

It’s often said that a donor isn’t really a donor until they’ve made a second gift. If that’s true, your new donor welcome kit might be the most important mailing you ever send.

Your acquisition efforts caught their attention and moved them to support your organization. But was that just a one-off, spur-of-the-moment, emotional whim? Or might you be able to persuade them to enter into a real relationship with you… to become a member of your family of supporters?

What you send them next could decide.

That’s why it’s critical that your welcome kit is done right. Here are seven things it should include if you want to have the greatest chance of converting a new acquisition into a long-term friend:

  1. A truly welcoming welcome letter. A lot rides on this communication so put your best writers on it. Make sure the letter is warm, simple, and filled with gratitude. Remember the donor has done you a tremendous honor by sharing their hard-earned resources with you. Make sure they know how much they mean to you.   
  2. A photo of them at your last event.  What better way to capture a donor’s experience than in a photo while they are smiling, bidding or celebrating!  Use your photographer strategically and send out a photo or two reminding your donor of the great time they had while supporting your event.
  3. A comprehensive overview of who you are and what you do. This might be one of the few times that putting a brochure in a mailing does more good than harm. If your brochure is sensitively written, if it features powerful images and contains more than just facts and figures, it won’t break the emotional connection between you and them.
  4. A short survey that asks the donor how you can meet their needs. What areas of your mission matter most to them? How do they want you to communicate with them? What initially drew them to you? What questions or concerns do they have about your organization? The ideal survey should have no fewer than three and no more than nine questions. That’s enough to make the new donor know you’re interested in their thoughts and feelings, but not so many that they are dissuaded from filling it out. 
  5. A brand extender. If you can, include a decal, window cling, bookmark or some other item with your logo that lets them put your name in front of the public — or at least keeps you in front of the donor to remind them of the good deed they did by sending you a gift.
  6. A soft ask. Conventional wisdom says that people are most likely to make a second gift within 14 days of giving the first time. So be gentle but not shy. This is not the place for an assertive request, but it’s good to give them a gentle reminder that their gift is making something wonderful happen. If that’s too far outside your comfort zone, simply including a reply envelope with no other comment is often enough to encourage another gift.
  7. Your heart. Your welcome kit offers a beautiful opportunity to remember why you do what you do. Nothing creates a close bond like sharing a passion for something that really matters, so think about why your organization is important to you and let your feelings run free as you share your enthusiasm with your new friend. (Then go back and edit carefully, of course!)

What you say to your donor after you receive their first gift sets the tone for every interaction you’ll have with them in the future. It really is the opportunity of a lifetime for that relationship so be real, be human and be grateful.

If you have any questions or would like to further discuss, I’d love to speak with you.