Many organizations struggle, especially during hard economic times, to develop and grow a loyal group of regular donors. Often the focus is almost entirely on acquiring new donors. However, fundraisers often miss the window of opportunity to ask for a well-timed second gift – a vital step in cultivating loyal multi-year donors.
Pursuant Ketchum, a leader in organized fundraising, recently provided some practical tips to help fundraisers ask donors for a second gift. Following are five core principles that Pursuant believes are essential to securing a donor’s second gift:
- Make your second ask quickly: How long should an organization wait before asking for a second gift? Sooner than you think! Pursuant’s research showed that the earlier you acquire a second gift the higher the lifetime value of a donor. The ideal asking time is within the first 90 days of the donor’s original gift. Pursuant advises this time frame for all donors – annual, mid-level and even major donors
- Steward first, ask second: Proper stewardship is the key to acquiring donor loyalty over time. Communication within 30-60 days of the first gift should detail the specific impact of the gift on individual lives. A prompt thank you and notification of how the gift has made a difference lends itself to a soon-to-follow ask for a second gift.
- Prepare a donor for the second ask with the first ask: Successful fundraisers must think ahead. Don’t simply think about that first dollar amount. Focus on connecting the donor with the greater vision of the organization and the role they can play over the long-term.
- Create personalized incentives: Find a way to invite and involve donors to participate in your organization that will resonate with them. Involving the donor`s specific passion for your work and personalizing incentives will help to deepen the relationship.
- Reduce Friction: This one is simple, but sometimes difficult. Friction is obstacles that deter donors from making a gift. Lack of timely recognition or lack of understanding of the impact of a gift are two big sources of friction. Complicated internal policies or bureaucratic technicalities on how a gift is to be received will dissuade and frustrate a donor. Keep it simple!
Implementing these specific strategies can have a deep and lasting impact on both your organization and your donors. Don`t wait too long to ask for that second gift!