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3 Ways a Welcome Package Can Affect Your Donor Relationships

Author: Sayana Izmailova
May 4, 2020
🕑 9 min read

With unprecedented access to information, individuals have more options to give than ever before. The fact that they choose your organization to support means you’ve done an excellent job explaining your goals and outlining your milestones. Each new name is an opportunity to build long lasting donor relationships that expand those goals and milestones.

In today’s hyper-connected world, acquiring a new donor is an incredible feat.

Unfortunately, many nonprofits don’t use this opportunity to their advantage — and in fact, some hurt themselves by doing nothing at all. The first chance they have to connect with individual donors is squashed with a generic or completely missing donor welcome package.

Today’s leading nonprofits are doing something different, however.

They’re using their responsive fundraising to create an exceptional donor experience that leads to increased giving and loyalty over time.

Here are some of the ways responsive nonprofits are leveraging their welcome packages and, more importantly, why.

How Welcome Packages Change Donor Relationships

If your goal is to create meaningful donor relationships at scale, your welcome packages should be as unique as each individual donor.

Although each of your donors shares an interest in the work your organization does, their motivations, values and reasons are extremely personal. Their introduction to your organization should speak directly to those things.

Responsive fundraising makes that possible. By using the right donor signals to create strategic, thoughtful connections, your nonprofit can solidify your relationships with donors. The result is increased predictable, recurring giving and a richer community of like-minded individuals. Here are a few ways to think about the return on your better welcome packages.

Welcome Packages Help You Gather Information

In the past, the most popular way to increase revenue was to increase production. Send more direct mail pieces, make more appeals through email, host more events.

Although in the short term, this might have worked, it was detrimental in the long run. Donors felt more like ATMs than humans and nonprofit employees felt burnt out.

Now, the answer is not to do more, but to make smarter choices. With the help of software designed specifically for nonprofits, it’s easier than ever to know exactly how to create better experiences for each donor. Inside your nonprofit CRM, you can use features like automation, tracking pixels and contact tags to understand exactly what each individual cares most about. In addition, you can identify how they prefer to consume that information and through which mediums.

With each data-driven welcome package, you start to learn more about the donor as an individual, as well as the donor persona as a group. Use each touchpoint in your welcome series to drive a specific call-to-action (CTA). Report on the success of each CTA monthly, so that you can start to see trends in behavior. The more micro, historical data you can report on, the better you’ll be able to predict successful CTAs for donors in the future. Rather than overwhelming or distancing your donors with each touchpoint, you’ll bring them closer to your organization and the people who comprise it. In terms of lasting generosity, that is an invaluable asset to have.

Donors Feel Empowered with the Right Welcome Package

Another critical component to successful relationships with donors is giving them agency to support your cause in ways that they enjoy. Your welcome package is the perfect opportunity to provide a myriad of suggestions to individual donors. You can give them ways to advocate for your organization, learn more about their favorite programs, contact representatives on your team they can connect with, and more.

A simple way to ensure that you can provide various suggestions to your donors is to create a multi-channel, multi-step welcome package. To do this, think about the way you make a new friend. There’s texting, phone calls, content sharing on social media and more. Each engagement leads to a new next step. Sometimes, that means connecting. Sometimes, that just means finding a new thing you have in common. The same goes for donors.

Use the data you have from your nonprofit CRM to give the donors ways to create new and unique bonds to your organization. You can start by pulling website behavior data from your tracking pixel. Then, create content tracks based on the pages each of your donor personas are most likely to visit.

Let’s say your donor persona, Brooks, is a busy technology enthusiast who prefers to see quick answers and important results that he can share with his network. You notice that donors who fall into your Brooks persona download your quarterly reports, watch videos that celebrate milestones and often share blogs from your site to their Twitter followers. You can also see that they rarely attend local events or answer phone calls, but quickly answer survey questions and emails.

If a new donor visits your website and follows the same journey as previous Brooks donors, you can send a welcome series that speaks directly to their motivations and values. Instead of spending time on more phone calls or sharing blogs that don’t speak directly to what’s important to them, you can ensure that each engagement is relevant and inspiring to your new donor.

This solves two problems.

The first is preventing donors from feeling that they’re nothing more than an ATM to your nonprofit. They feel like you see them as a person, you care what their experience of your nonprofit is, and you want to provide them important information that affirms why they support your work.

The second is scalability. With comprehensive, automated welcome packages, you ensure that no donor is missed, and no one on your team feels overwhelmed by daily tasks.

Donors Can Become Advocates with a Useful Welcome Package

The best way to reach new audiences is through sharing, especially now, when we are constantly connected across devices and social platforms.

Think about the last TV show you streamed — how did you find out about it?

Most likely, your friends, family or a trusted influencer mentioned how great it was. Even if you were aware of it before, you made the choice to invest your time only after a trusted source confirmed how good it was.

The same goes for generosity.

If your nonprofit creates an unforgettable welcome package for new donors, they are more likely to talk proudly about you. They’ll want to share the great work you’re doing, the experiences you create, and the ways they are helping do more good in the world. The more donors talk to their friends about you, the faster you can grow your donor base and revenue. But it all depends on the welcome package.

While you provide information about the good you’re doing, give donors a way to talk about it as part of the change. Instead of taking ownership of the impact, put donors at the center. Remind them that nothing would be possible without their dedication, generosity, and action. With ways to talk about your nonprofit’s work that are personal and important, your donors will feel compelled to share with their networks. The result is a steady stream of new traffic that you can convert into donors who feel instantly connected to your community. We’ve seen it work for our customers month after month, and we encourage all nonprofits to follow their lead.

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Example Welcome Packages to Improve Donor Relationships

While each nonprofit will have a different kind of welcome package depending on the work you do and the results you’ve seen, there are a few commonalities that all welcome packages share. Here are a few examples of how you can structure your welcome packages for new donors based on what makes the most sense for your organization and the donor.

Multi-Channel, Single Conversation Welcome Packages

The modern donor is one that interacts with your nonprofit in a variety of ways. While we encourage you to take full advantage of the different communication channels available to you, you shouldn’t use them to talk to donors about things they don’t care about— especially if you’re welcoming them into your community.

Sending a welcome package to your new donors that has a single conversation across touchpoints and channels requires a coordinated, collaborative effort from your team. To be a truly responsive nonprofit, the silos that existed in your organization before need to be demolished. Your development teams and your marketing teams need to know what each other is doing to forge deeper relationships so the experience is seamless for new donors.

This philosophy is especially effective for donors who have already indicated their motivations, values and interests.

For example, if you know that a person donated to help with the tornado devastation in Chattanooga, keep your welcome package specific to that campaign. Use follow-up messaging and engagements to reveal the whole scope of your work, but keep the welcome personal, specific and continuous across channels.

Multi-Channel, Multi-Conversation Welcome Packages

On the other hand, you might have donors who find you organically and haven’t indicated the parts of your nonprofit they care most about.

For new donors like this, you have the freedom to send a welcome package that spans multiple topics and multiple communication channels.

For example, right now, we’re seeing hundreds of for-profit organizations partner with nonprofits to help healthcare professionals and other front-line workers of the Covid-19 pandemic. If you partner with for-profit organizations to drive donations, those new donors may not know much about your work. They might simply be loyal customers of that company. Without information on what these new donors care about, you’ll have to build a much different welcome package. For donors like this, having multiple conversations across multiple channels will help you understand what resonates most deeply and quickly.

The key here is to include specific CTAs in your first couple engagements so that you can optimize the subsequent touchpoints in your welcome series. A great strategy is to include a new donor survey in the first welcome email. Give donors the opportunity to tell you what they are interested in, how they prefer to communicate with organizations and how they like to engage with nonprofits. With those results, you can enroll each new donor in an existing welcome series that speaks to their answers.

Staying open to donor signals is crucial for responsive nonprofits. It is never too early (or too late) to ask donors what they care most about and cater their experience to their answers. In fact, that’s the only way to grow giving with the modern donor.

Welcome Packages for Friends and Family

A third type of new donor to consider when strategizing around welcome packages is the individual that finds you through their family, friends or colleagues.

Part of human nature is to share the things we love with those closest to us. As a result, many of the new donors you acquire every year will come from referrals. These people will have a deeper knowledge and different connection to your work than someone who found you via other channels.

It’s important to acknowledge these new donors in a different way. Check your nonprofit CRM for relational data, including who the new donor is already connected to, who in their neighborhood is connected to your nonprofit and any other relevant historical data. It also helps to see if the new donor has already given to your nonprofit in the form of volunteer hours with one of your existing donors.

If they have, you can create a welcome package that celebrates their existing community, provide ways for them to get involved alongside the existing donors they already know or offer the opportunity to meet more like-minded people.

Of course, they’ll still need content that explains your nonprofit with details their friends might not have shared, but tweaking a few small details can turn each engagement from a generic welcome package, to one that feels personal and authentic for them.

The important thing to remember for any welcome package you create is to repurpose what you already have in order to optimize your time and efforts. Minor tweaks to the opening of an email or changing a few videos that you send can make a world of difference for your new donors, but won’t tax your team in a way that is unscalable. Small changes to existing content combined with the ease of marketing automation can make exponential changes to your donor relationships, especially with your welcome packages.

Read more:How to Create the Ultimate New Member Welcome Packet

Going Beyond the Welcome Package

The truth is treating each individual donors like major donors cannot end at the welcome package. Your organization must create the infrastructure to help you cater to each donor’s interests over time. That means responding to the way they evolve and grow. Staying open to donor signals, finding new ways to connect with them and providing new suggestions that bring them closer to the cause is how you can ensure long-lasting relationships and increased generosity.

Make sure that your teams understand the importance of collaboration and communication in all donor development campaigns. The strategies and creative ideas you start in your personalized welcome packages should continue through each and every gift the individual donor makes.

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