3 Steps to Retain First-Time P2P Nonprofit Donors
For many nonprofits, peer-to-peer (P2P) campaigns effectively reach more new donors because, as our friends at Corporate Giving Connection say, “people give to people.” Once the campaign is over, your nonprofit’s next big project is to retain those first-time donors acquired through a friend’s fundraiser—but how do you do it? Our friend Chris Hammond, CEO of Corporate Giving Connection, approaches this process in these three steps.
Q: What are some best practices for retaining new donors from a P2P fundraising campaign?
A: We always suggest having a clear plan in place—you should create a path to educate donors and encourage them to make their second gift.
A lot of people that are donating to a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign may not even know what you do! They’re giving because people give to people. We’ve all been in a position where a friend said, “Hey, I love this organization!” which made us say, “I love my friend, and the things that are important to them are also important to me, so I’m going to give to this specific campaign.” During this early stage of retention, your overall goal should be to welcome new donors, invite them to take action with you, and then track their engagement.
1. Welcome them
Once you have acquired all these new donors who were influenced to give by people they know personally, one of the first things you should be doing is enrolling them in a welcome series.
It’s going to be important that these new donors have an opportunity to go through their own journey with your organization, without being prompted each time by their relationship with their friend. You might start at the beginning with one email that introduces what the organization has been doing lately, a recent win, or the organization’s history. Maybe a week later, your second email in the stream will talk about the impact you’re currently making, including a story about someone your organization served or the effect you had in a way that feels tangible. These messages dripping into your new donors’ inboxes are important because they keep your organization top of mind in a consistent way and help illustrate the impact of your work.
2. Invite them to take action
Let’s say you’re a few emails into your welcome series, and you’re beginning to educate them about your work. Maybe another week later, you send a message that just talks about new programs or new events that are coming up, with an opportunity for them to take action. This ask is important, since the more connected they feel to your mission and the better they understand your work, the more you can build a one-to-one relationship with the donor.
Moments like these are where your personalization, segmenting, and targeting practices will come in handy—you don’t want to surprise anybody, you want to make sure that each new donor is receiving messages that will make sense to them based on their journey with you so far. You’ll also want to pay attention to the content you’re including in your messaging: especially with the way open rates are changing due to broad changes outside the nonprofit sector’s control, maybe you begin to experiment with a range of content formats, like infographics or a video in addition to or instead of written copy. IUPUI’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy has found that with the right voice and tone, a video with a short narrative can be more effective than the written word alone at engaging and persuading donors to give, so feel free to test the waters and adjust depending on the responses you receive.
3. Track their engagement
Once you’ve welcomed your new donors and invited them to take action, you’re going to be able to track how involved they’ve been. If you’re seeing that a new donor has continued to engage, click, and really be actively involved with these emails, this might be an opportunity to invite the donor to become a volunteer or a sustainer. If the donor has given at a certain level, you might even explore the possibility of the donor becoming a Board member. Ultimately, the right journey for each donor will depend on your organization’s ability to track their interests and their support of your work using your CRM, and then take action based on that accessible information.