If you’re like most nonprofits, donors play a huge role in your success. Their support enables you to make an impact. A large percentage of your time is devoted to ensuring you’re doing everything you can to encourage people to support your cause. Getting them to give is your goal, but getting them to give again and again is your dream.

So, how do you turn a one-time giver into a recurring donor?

Staying in touch is key. And, email is a great way to do it. It allows you to keep conversing with them about different aspects of your nonprofit. Email is targeted, can be personalized to a donor’s specific interactions with you and you can track your success.

Email can be used for so much more than sending your newsletter once a month. It’s a tool for developing relationships with current donors. Use it to keep in touch, remind them they matter to your organization and keep them engaged with these four types of emails.

Thank You Messages

Most online donation forms are quickly followed with a “Thanks for Donating” page.  This is a great practice, but there’s nothing wrong with following up with a more personalized thank you email, too.  It’s akin to those hand-written thank you notes you’re mom always made you write.

A thank you email is an opportunity. It’s a chance to further inform donors of the work you’re doing and how their donation helps. But, be personal! You’re reinforcing the fact that their specific donation is helping your organization accomplish something good.

This personal reminder that their money is appreciated will resonate with them, and may just entice them to keep giving.

Follow Up Emails

Let people know what their money is accomplishing—after they’ve made the donation. This is a great reason to follow up with a donor, and one they will greatly appreciate. They know they’ve donated to your general cause. Maybe they even selected a specific project you’ve got underway. But, often that’s as much as they’ll ever know—unless you tell them more.

Email is a great way to let your donors know exactly what impact their money had on your efforts. This sort of follow up can go a long way in earning their loyalty and continued support.

Stories of Impact

Share stories. Not every donor is guaranteed to be an avid reader of your blog. Bring some of your best stories to them, highlighting your impact.

Supporters want to see your progress and accomplishments. They’ve invested in your work. They want to share in your success. By sharing these stories with donors, you’re reminding them of your impact and showing them the type of results that are possible with their help.

Invitations to Stay Involved

They donated, so it’s fair to assume they’re interested in various ways to actively support your cause. Email is a great way to tactfully present them with other opportunities to engage.

Invite them to events. Make them aware of different volunteer opportunities. When the time is right, present them with opportunities to give again. You want to create a relationship with donors, and make them feel a part of your work. Inviting them to deepen their involvement is one of the best ways you can do this.

But, don’t spam them with appeals. Remember, you’re trying to cultivate a relationship, not treat them like an ATM. Think of the kinds of content they’re likely to find interesting, and send it their way.

Donor retention can be tricky, but there are so many ways to engage donors with email. The one thing to always keep top of mind though is: make it personal. Think about what they’re most interested in reading, not what you’re most interesting in sending. People get click happy with the delete button in their inboxes—don’t let your email fall victim. An email tailored to them may have a better chance at surviving and is pivotal in getting them to donate again.

What sort of emails do you send to donors? Are there any you would add to our list? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.