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Generating Real Impact: How to Convert, Upgrade, and Retain Your Donors on #GivingTuesday

A successful #GivingTuesday campaign demands a lot of planning. In fact, planning what you will do AFTER #GivingTuesday is just as important as, if not more than, all the planning you put into the big day.

Do nothing to meaningfully convert your first-time #GivingTuesday donors into making a second gift and you will waste all the hard work you put into creating your campaign.


How to Convert, Upgrade, and Retain Your Donors on #GivingTuesday

Here are five things your nonprofit can do to effectively convert, retain, and upgrade the people who give to your cause during #GivingTuesday:


1. Follow a solid, actionable plan to acknowledge, thank, and welcome new

donors properly. 

More than likely, your organization is putting much thoughtful effort into your #GivingTuesday campaign to acquire new donors. In the same way, you need to have an intentional communication strategy for converting a new first-time donor into a lifelong fan.

Here are a few ways you can thank and steward new first-time donors: 

  1. Immediate, personalized thank-you
  2. Social media acknowledgment
  3. Welcome package
  4. Email welcome series and newsletter 
  5. Personalized follow-up 
  6. Voice broadcast thank-you 
  7. Year-end appeal
  8. Ongoing engagement


TIP: Keep authenticity, transparency, and genuine appreciation in mind throughout your donor communications. Make sure to talk to them about more than just donations. Share impact and advocacy work or consider a survey to gather their feedback. 


2. Set a memorable auto-responder.

Many nonprofits use auto-responders to simply function as a confirmation of a gift. But have you ever considered using them to educate, entertain, or inspire people who donate to your cause? Many reports have found that transactional emails like receipts and shipping confirmations have some of the highest open rates – as high as 85%.  A creative auto-responder is a simple way to stand out immediately with something fresh, funny, and warm, and includes an opportunity for the donor to take a deeper engagement with your nonprofit. The truth is we should be doing this every day. If you aren’t, start now. Grab your donor’s attention.

White Simple Quote Instagram Reel

TIP: Make your email autoresponder stand out with copy that is inventive, inspiring, and gushing with gratitude. Remember – a great email auto-responder DOES NOT replace your thank you card, postcard, letter, or phone call. Your email autoresponder lets them know you got their gift. Your thank you lets them know it mattered. This leads us to the next point…


3. Be prepared to thank them by having pre-printed thank you card stock with thoughtfully crafted copy ready to send out.

We are huge fans of the handwritten thank you card and if you prepare these ahead of time, including your copy, you can get them out the door effortlessly. Saying thank you is a privilege.

In her book, “Donor-Centered Fundraising” Penelope Burk writes, “Your thank you should get out the door within 48 hours. Period. No arguments… If you don’t thank donors promptly, you’re destroying all the rest of your hard work… Timely follow-up matters. A lot.”


4. Welcome them into your communication stream with a series of targeted emails.

Many organizations have an email welcome series for new donors. This is your chance to tailor yours for #GivingTuesday. Roll out the red carpet with a warm introduction to your cause.

TIP: Make the donor the hero of your story by using the pronoun “you” and sharing powerful storytelling that gives your donors the credit for changing lives.


5. Qualify their interests to learn more about them and upgrade their giving through the use of video.

Many of our clients have experienced tremendous success by creating engaging donor videos that reveal critical data about their interests. You likely already have great behavioral insights from events your donors attend or programs they support.

TIP: Taking the time to gather behavioral data about your donors can provide valuable insights that can be passed on to a gift officer who can then know precisely which programs and topics the donor cares about when they engage them.


Learn more about the value of donor retention in our complimentary eBooks Donor Retention In Uncertain Times Parts 1 & 2


GivingDNA is the next generation of wealth intelligence + data analytics that uniquely combines your internal data with external insights to inform all areas of your fundraising strategy, from annual fund segmentation to mid/major gift prospecting and portfolio optimization. 

Powered by Pursuant’s + Allegiance Group’s decades of fundraising expertise, fundraisers rely on GivingDNA for real-time data visualization to guide insights and strategy across their entire organization. Book a GivingDNA demo today.