#GivingTuesday 2014 charitable contributions climbed by more than 60 percent over last year, according to early estimates from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the Case Foundation.

The university’s report says 15,000-plus nonprofits benefited from more than $45 million in contributions made during this year’s event, held this past Tuesday, December 2. The total number of donations more than doubled over last year to nearly 300,000, and the average amount per donation increased by 6 percent.

Wow. These results clearly indicate that this global movement – in just its third year – is growing in both popularity and impact. This is fantastic news for nonprofits the world over. We love new donors, right?

But … now what?

In fact, answering this question is WAY more important than what happens during the 24 hours that is #GivingTuesday. Now’s the time to develop a solid plan to further engage and nurture these valuable new supporters. Check out these four tips for guidance:

  1. Think “Donor Loyalty” – This is defined as “the ongoing process of engaging with your donors so that they contribute with donations and time to your organization over the long term.” A mere 10 percent improvement in attrition can create a 200 percent increase in projected value, according to authors Adrian Sargeant and Jen Shang in their report, “Growing Philanthropy in the United States.”
  1. Go Beyond Confirmation – Leverage this opportunity to say “thank you” by asking donors for small favors, such as liking you on Facebook, registering for an upcoming event, signing a petition, or volunteering.
  1. Plan a Follow-Up Email Campaign – A series of emails automatically sent to your #GivingTuesday donors will help them get to know you better over time. Also called a “Welcome Series,” this is an easy way to increase your touch points, educate about your organization’s mission and impact, and engage first-time givers.
  1. Never Stop Saying, “Thank You” – Thank your donors! Surprisingly, many are not (21 percent of donors say they were never thanked), so it’s a great way to stand out. Thank them right away, and then thank them repeatedly throughout the year. Show them the impact you have been able to make with their help.

These tips transcend #GivingTuesday, applying to any donation drive, including your upcoming year-end campaigns. For more on this subject, register to attend our upcoming webinar, “Converting Year-End Donors into Long-term, Loyal Donors,” scheduled for Tuesday, December 16 at 12 p.m. Central Time.

And stay tuned to Forward Together! Next week, one of our customers shares its #GivingTuesday success and how it was achieved.