New donor welcome packets – a thing of the past?

Many people know that I have conducted a mystery shopping study in Asia Pacific over the past four years. This study, self-funded, self-guided and self-directed, focuses on the gift giving experience, receipting and acknowledging, follow on solicitations, and other donor care treatments received. I have reported on study findings prior and today I want to discuss the new donor welcome packages part of the study.

Snip20140810_1Are new donor welcome packages a thing of the past? I ask this question because less than 2% of the organisations in the study sent me a new donor welcome package. Those received would be rated a 1 out of a possible ten and here is why:

  • None of the new donor welcome packages were truly new donor welcome packages, with essential components one would expect in such a package.
  • Two of the new donor welcome packages appeared to include a copy of every publication produced over the last year. The packages included magazines, newsletters, brochures and other materials with no sense to why the copies of the publications were included.
  • As a result of the above, the postage paid to send these extensive packages, full of publications, was a large percentage of my original first gift. Most people will view this as a waste of money.
  • No ask was included in any of the packages. I view this as a missed opportunity. Why wouldn’t the charities take the opportunity to ask me for a second gift or to join their regular giving program? Why produce such a package without making a further ask?

Here are the key ingredients of any new donor welcome package:

  • A welcome letter from CEO/Chair of the Board.
  • Material to tell the organisation’s story with the ultimate goal to maintain the engagement of the new donor. This material should not be over the top in nature and cause the donor to wonder if you simply are cleaning out your publications storage.
  • Calls to action, including: a coupon encouraging the donor to join the organisation’s regular giving program or to make a repeat single gift and a trigger to encourage the donor to leave the charity in their will.
  • Links to: like your organisation on Facebook, follow your organisation on Twitter, and other social media.

Keep the new donor package simple, yet attractive and professional looking.

New donor welcome packages, if produced correctly, offer a host of opportunity to continue to engage the brand new donor or the renewed lapsed donor. New donor welcome packages do not have to be complex nor do they have to be costly to accomplish your engagement goals. So, why do so few organisations in Australia produce new donor welcome packages?