Building strong relationships doesn’t just take time; it requires authenticity, persistence, and good old fashioned TLC. If you had a successful year-end giving campaign, you likely have new donors to engage in your cause. And seeing as it costs 10x more to acquire a new donor than it does to retain a current one, stewardship is certainly worth the effort. Wondering where to start? Here are the 3 essential steps to nurturing new relationships into something bigger and better.

new donor stewardship

Step 1. Thank the donor… as quickly as possible.

Statistics show that donors are 400x more likely to give a second donation when they’re personally thanked within 48 hours. This simple act of expressing gratitude in a timely and personal manner is the key ingredient to donor retention. And, by the way, auto-responders that generate an immediate gift confirmation are great, but they aren’t enough on their own. A personal thank you email directly to the donor the day after their gift? Now that is donor stewardship.

Step 2. Introduce yourself to your newest supporter (& put your best foot forward!)

New donors want to get to know you. And the best way to give them a glimpse of your world is with a new donor welcome series. Welcome emails sent individually, or as an automated series, introduce your newest supporter to the great work and impact you’ve had in the community.  One of our favorite strategies is to share stories of the cause your donor contributed to. People like to know where exactly their money is going, and how its helping better the global community. After all, that’s usually why we make donations in the first place (do good, feel good!).

This is your moment to shine. In your welcome series, include multimedia, infographics, and other elements that visually represent your cause and impact.

Step 3. Ask your newest fan to do more (outside of giving money)

After about a month of personal outreach and authentic cultivation is the best time to ask your new donor to get more involved in your cause. Ask them to volunteer, fundraise for their birthday, follow you on social media, or simply stay in touch. In other words, make sure your donors know that you appreciate them more than their wallet!

There are so many ways to get new supporters involved and continue learning about your work without immediately giving again. And the more involved your supporters are in different aspects of your organization, the more committed they’ll be. This, my friends, is what leads to life-long support of a cause that they truly care for.

Look to the future…

When it comes to asking for a second gift, industry standards suggest that the best time to ask again is about three months after their first donation. This leaves a solid window for your organization to deepen your relationship with that donor, educate new constituents, and empower individuals to be involved in different ways. By properly stewarding your donors, you’ll have so many more supporters who are in it for the long-run; who advocate for your cause; who choose you as their favorite charity.

Want help cultivating relationships?

Carly is a Digital Fundraising Strategist with decades of experience creating vibrant, engaging online fundraising campaigns. Carly excels in revenue generation, fundraiser stewardship, virtual events, and donor retention. 

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