Often, I receive requests from nonprofits and ministries asking for help to acquire new donors. They are desperately looking for the next new platform or marketing campaign that will unleash an abundant harvest of potential new donors at a low cost. A regular inflow of new donors is essential for the overall health of the fundraising program, and I am proud to say we have had great success with implementing donor acquisition programs for our clients. However, many organizations often overlook a significant principle that has the power to revolutionize their fundraising efforts — CONVERSION!
Most organizations have built up sizeable email lists, but only a small percent actually have converted to a donor. They also have databases with thousands of first-time givers who have not converted to a second gift. Just imagine how improving the conversion rate would substantially increase revenue both in the short and long term. This is why working on your conversion strategies is imperative!
Let’s just talk about the conversion of first-time donors to a second gift. If a new donor does not give a second gift within the first 90 days, our research shows that the chances are less than 10% they will ever give again. WOW — can you see how important the first 90 days are!
You should track the conversion rate on many aspects of your fundraising initiatives so you can monitor their effectiveness. Here are a few of the areas to monitor:
- New Emails Acquired Converting to Donor
- New Donors Converting to Second Gift
- Second Gift Donors Converting to Multi-Donor
- Donors Converting to Partners/Auto-Debit
Do you know what your second gift conversion rate is? Do you have donor conversion strategies in place to maximize your conversion rates?
Here are some ideas to improve your conversion rates:
- Implement an email and direct mail conversion series
Create a series of emails and/or direct mail packages that welcomes the new donor and allows you to introduce your organization while also giving the new donor an opportunity to give again. Trying to share your mission and stories of impact in one letter or email is too much, so a series of emails or letters sent over several weeks is the best approach. The donor conversion series should be well designed, the ask must be carefully worded, and the timing between each letter or email requires careful timing in order to produce the desired results.
- Examine the sources and campaigns being used for acquisition
Your new name acquisition campaigns may appear to be a success because the acquisition cost is low, but if these names are not converting to donors, then it’s not working! No matter how cheaply you can acquire new names, if those names are not converting to donors who support you, then you are wasting money.
Sometimes the problem is not clearly telling the donors what you want them to do. Don’t be afraid to ask for a donation in your fundraising communications.
- Make It Easy To Give
Examine your online donation process. Eliminate any unnecessary fields and reduce the amount of copy on the donation page. Think mobile — you want your online giving to be simple and fast. Also, provide multiple ways for a person to give — mail, text-to-give, online, and phone. People are more comfortable using certain giving methods than others, so you want to diversify your giving channels.
Let Infinity Concepts help you unleash the power of conversion so you can see your fundraising efforts revolutionized! Let’s talk today!
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