In my last post I talked about “How to Increase the Value of Your Donor Database by 200%.”  The short answer there was to really focus in on the lifetime value of your donors and spend more time focusing on what they really want, what they need, and what gets them truly exited to support your organization.

If you focus on small improvements over the course of the year, you’ll see huge results (like that 200 percent increase mentioned above). In our webinar tomorrow, we’ll dig into some of these ideas and strategies. Until then, here’s sneak peek …

The Engagement Gap
The “engagement gap” is the difference between a first-time donor and a super engaged long-time loyal donor. Most organizations really don’t think through what it takes to create one of these super donors, but it may not be as hard as you think. The first step is to create a profile of what your top donors look like and how they act. For example, a top donor may attend multiple events, donate more than once per year, volunteer, and comment on your social media posts.

Now all you need to do is figure out how to get a new donor to take similar actions. Of course, you can’t just ask them to do all these things at once – you could come off as a bit needy and pushy.

Instead, create a graduated series of actions you can ask them to do, starting with simple and small requests like following you on Twitter, forwarding an email, etc. Then, you can slowly move them up to bigger requests over time, and eventually they start to look like that super donor you profiled earlier.

The Donor Welcome Series
How do most organizations deal with new donors? They send an automated thank you message, and then make them wait for the next monthly newsletter. Big time fail.

When donors make that donation, they’re excited, they’re proud of what they’ve done, and they’re ready to do more. So, instead of ignoring them at this point, you should send them an automated series of emails over the course of a few months that continues to engage them and keep them exited and connected.

What should you put in these donor welcome emails? You can thank them multiple times throughout the year, show them the impact you’re making with their support, tell them some amazing success stories, and of course, close that engagement gap by asking them to take some of those actions you detailed earlier.

Turning One-time Donors into Monthly Donors
In our latest research study, we found the average donor felt comfortable donating up to $299 online. When I first saw this number, I was a bit surprised and even disappointed, until I realized we could get them to donate a smaller amount but make it on a regular monthly basis (which, in the end, adds up to be a major gift!). The first step to increasing your monthly giving is to simply ask and make it super easy to sign up and become a monthly supporter.

After that, there are a number of other ways we can encourage donors to become monthly supporters, like creating a special group of “champions” and providing them extra benefits that one-time donors don’t get. Think of ways you can make these special donors feel “special” … like front-row seats at your events, unique T-shirts or badges, or even a VIP happy hour just for them.

If you’re looking to dig a little deeper into the concepts of lifetime value and donor loyalty, then you don’t want to miss our next webinar – End-of-Year to Loyal Donors tomorrow, December 12 at noon CT. On this jam-packed webinar, we’ll dig into a number of strategies that will help you better engage with your donors and keep them coming back over the long term.

And, in the meantime, read more on the topic of donor loyalty in some of my past blog posts: