Why First-Time Donors Don’t Repeat and What To Do About It

by | November 2, 2017

How often does your church receive contributions from first-time donors? First-time donor giving goes up in the fourth quarter, specifically between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The question is… will they contribute again? Many don’t give a second time. Here’s why.

Why don’t first-time donors give again?

Non-profit researchers learned the number one reason first-time donors never make a second contribution. Can you guess what it is?

It’s not because they were ignored. While sending a personal thank you is helpful, it isn’t the most important factor in deciding whether they will give again.

It is not because they felt their gift was wasted or unnecessary. At the beginning stages of giving, people aren’t yet inquiring about the stewardship of their gifts.

It’s not even because they lost interest in the organization. Their involvement in the community doesn’t drop overnight.

The number one reason first-time donors don’t make a second gift — they were asked for a second gift BEFORE being thanked for the first one.

 

Receiving a sudden second solicitation can feel impersonal.

Likely we have all had this experience of being asked for another gift too soon after making a first-time donation. Charities seize the opportunity to ask for a gift because they think, based on your gift, you are sympathetic to their cause. As soon as your check lands on the Executive Director’s desk, another solicitation arrives in your mailbox. It feels impersonal and greedy.

Has this happened in your church? It shouldn’t.

We are the Church! We are all about love, and grace, and gratitude (among other things.)  Expressing gratitude lets donors know you care about them, not just their finances.

 

How you say thank you is as important as how you ask for support.

When thanking a first-time donor, keep in mind:

1) First-time givers should receive a thank you note within a week of making the donation.

2) Share information about how donations are making an impact through your church. Try to connect ministry with money.

3) Do not make a second ask in the letter — the letter is 100% gratitude.

 

Here is a sample thank you letter to first-time donors to get you started.

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