The 48-Hour Window

The 48-Hour Window

“Research has shown that first-time donors who receive a personal thank-you within 48 hours are four times more likely to give again. Yes, thanking in 48 hours equals a 400 percent improvement in renewal rates.” Tom Ahern, in his book, What Donors Want…and Why.

I know you are tired from Easter, but you have a 48-hour window to reach out to those that gave for the first time on Easter to say thank you. To help motivate you, here are four reasons why you need a first-time giver plan.

First, it shows you value their gift and that they are not simply another number. Few people ever show true gratitude. Do you say thank you enough when it comes to your donors?

Second, it sets you apart from the crowd. Saying thank you is one of the biggest overlooked needs for churches. Charities outdo churches in saying thank you. Let’s change that.

Third, since you are continually losing donors, you must add new donors every year. We track clients’ giving, and most average anywhere from a 15% to 20% loss in givers every year. You must have a larger front door than your back door to stay fully funded.

Fourth, it paves the way for the next gift! Your thank you note, letter or call builds a bridge to the next “ask.”

Quick-Step First-Time Donor Plan – The following is my easy, quick-step donor plan for garnering additional gifts from donors. I recommend that you…

  • Have some system in place to track when someone gives a first-time gift to you. I also think you need to track when someone gives a first-time gift online. I also encourage you to note if the gift was for some special cause or was simply for your general budget.
  • Send personalized notes of thanks, either by email or text or by handwriting a thank you card. I gave this advice to a pastor running nearly 2,000 in weekly attendance, and it has helped retain scores of new donors. The key is to make it personalized, not an automated response.
  • Follow up a month or two with another appeal letter about some needs of your church and how a gift would make an impact for the Kingdom.
  • One year from when they gave you their first gift, write another letter or card to them thanking them for that gift and asking for another!

Make it your goal to have a first-time giver plan so that you can get second, third, and then multiple gifts! It takes take time and effort, but it will be worth it. So, get up off the couch and say thank you to your donors!

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