FundRaiser Blog

The FundRaiser Software Blog is an excellent resource for nonprofit organizations looking to learn more about fundraising, donor management, membership management, and much more.

Welcoming New Donors


Dear Kim,

We're a small group with limited staff and resources, but we know that properly welcoming new donors to our organization and thanking them for their gift will greatly increase the chances of them giving again. What do you recommend including in donor welcome packets that is not too labor or resource intensive?

~Small but mighty

Dear Mighty,

The sophisticated nature of your question shows me that you are already way ahead of the game. Knowing that first time donors need to be treated differently from long time donors is a lesson far too few organizations have learned. The most important strategy for getting any donor, but especially first time donors, to give again is an authentic thank you note. While each note does not need to be handwritten, it does need to have some personalization. More important, the note needs to have some new information: "just today I learned…." Or "Your gift helped bring our campaign to a successful end, which means we can …." Or, "I am excited to share the news with you that…." For new donors I also like to call and say something like, "Welcome to the community of people who make … possible" or "I am so happy to welcome you to our community of support…." In other words, some language that shows that you know they are giving for the first time.

Unless you are a membership organization or doing some kind of community organizing, you don't really need a full scale welcome packet for new donors. A bookmark with your logo, mission and some information is easy and inexpensive. The most important element, after a good thank you, is follow-up. The eNewsletter, more appeals, invitations to events or to offer opinions, are all good ways to insure that donors stay with you. (Remember also that most people who give one gift do not give again, so don't worry if you only keep 20-40 percent of first time donors. That is normal.) If you are a membership or organizing group, then a 'welcome packet' will be appropriate and will describe ways people can engage in your work.

In the end, you have to keep in mind that donors are not drought tolerant succulents that need little attention. Although more attention is more labor intensive, it is also creates loyalty and loyal donors talk to other people and invite them to be donors. Weighing the life time value of the donor against the effort it takes to make them feel welcome in the first place may help you decide what resources to devote to first time donors.

Good luck.

~Kim Klein 

Originally published in the Grassroots FundRaising Journal. FundRaiser users can subscribe at a special rate of $30/year by entering is "$30" in the coupon code field on the second page of the subscription process.

To learn more about how FundRaiser can help with tracking Giving Levels:

Take an online guided tour of FundRaiser

Short Take: PayPal for #GivingTuesday
Determing Donor Levels

Related Posts

Wait a minute, while we are rendering the calendar
overview FundRaiser Spark corporate sponsors event management budget security community arts nonprofits government grants banquet general arts operating systems follow up Codes donor targeted mailings campaign management add ons LYBUNTS tech tip social media ticket sales Thank You raffle pledges training alumni office membership benefits community broadcasting new leadership look and feel small donations case study accounting software publicity materials thank you letters recurring gifts tribute gifts gift entry lapsed donor donor contact information segmenting donors the Ask Company culture importing csv volunteering GivingTuesday Reporting to IRS merge fields major donors mode code donor recognition #GivingTuesday phoning donors happiness upgrade fundraising letters Excel increasing giving amounts motivation code announcements in honor of donations donor loyalty mission driven flash sales relationship tracking data conversion online donations data analysis welcome packet volunteers annual campaign motivation Groupings Facebook campaign monthly giving Volunteer module appeal letters updates membersip benefits user spotlights how-to videos spreadsheets National Change of Address operational costs annual maintenance plan giving levels membership programs disaster relief capital campaign online donations Crowdfunding Campaign customer service development director ticketsales endowment campaign on site training training tip Facebook moves management password protection donor attrition rate Alternative Addresses Congratulations major gift prospects upgrading donors data entry nonprofit fundraising End of Year Letters donor attrition Donor Portal solicitors foundations ROI PayPal charity golf tournaments tax summary letters correspondence community supported gardens NCOA processing donor slip donation history GoFundMe project animal rescue features fundraising premiums Resiliency grants board members In-Kind gifts grassroots campaign word processor understanding giving trends donor retention rate backing up data advanced tab spare fields customer portal communications custom page reports Snow Birds product news role of nonprofits memorial giving support building donor relationships change of address updating

Connect With Us

  800-880-3454 ext 3
  Email Us
  Request More Information
      8:30AM-5:30PM CST

Customer Portal Login Form

User Name:

If you are not sure about your Customer User Name, please call 800-543-4131 and we will be able to help you.

Or you have lost your password, Request Password