Why should you be engaging with first-time donors?

29 April 18

In the world of online giving, opportunities to reach a broader audience and improve fundraising efforts should always be taken. And yet, many tend to overlook the importance of engaging with first-time donors in a meaningful way. Most of us remember the first time that we do something, whether that’s the first goal scored or even a first kiss. It can be a catalyst to go on and do more of the same so, when it comes to first-time donors, it’s incredibly important to engage.


Why focus on first-time donors?


They chose you. First-time donors often reach out to an organisation that they may feel they have a personal connection with. Or they may have seen your campaign online or been led to your online fundraising page by social media. However they got to you there was something about what you’re doing that caught their eye. It’s that initial kernel of interest that is so very valuable in a first-time donor – they have come to you independently with a genuine desire to connect to what you’re doing and support it. That impulse is something incredibly valuable that you can convert into more.


First-time donors can become loyal supporters. Many first time donors simply never give again because so few organisations take the trouble to engage with them. However, with the right care and attention first-time donors can become loyal supporters who will continue to give on an ongoing basis.


The desire to share is real. When we discover something new – or do something for the first time – there is often a desire to tell someone about it. With first-time donors you can capitalise on this and motivate your newest supporters to go out and share the word about what you’re raising money for and why their donations will make such a big difference.


No supporter left behind. The world of online fundraising is a tough one to navigate these days. It’s incredibly competitive with so many different organisations looking for a share of what supporters are willing to give. So, if you have a first-time donor who has come to you independently and is genuinely interested in what you’re doing it just doesn’t make sense not to nurture that connection.


You snooze you lose. Another key reason to engage with first-time donors is that if you don’t then you’ll lose them. Those who donate for the first time may well want to go on and do more – and if you don’t engage with them others will.


Ideas for engaging with first-time donors


  • Say thank you straight away – a short but compelling email to show gratitude is important
  • Consider a free gift – everyone loves to get something in return for generosity
  • Follow up – after a month, a follow up email will remind your first-time donor why they donated and could show them how to do more
  • “Upsell” – there’s no selling as such in the online giving world but you can take an initial donation from a supporter and then introduce them to the other opportunities to get involved with the cause. From further donations that will have a different impact, to social sharing on behalf of your cause, give first-time donors the opportunity to do something more while you engage.


It’s crucial to have a trustworthy online giving platform to support your campaign, no matter who your donors are. At give.net we provide a versatile way to provide information, as well as a completely secure giving portal.