We talked about sustainable fundraising earlier. Retaining donors fall into stewardship and one of the easiest ways to retain donors is by email. The best part of email is that you can schedule them, saving you time. Let’s explore an email schedule and how to save time.

Email Schedule

Your email schedule will follow a set pattern to keep it easy for you. This pattern is thank you, mission/related, and need / appeal. If you haven’t been doing email, start easy at once a quarter. The main point here is consistency. If four emails is all you can consistently handle, then once a quarter is all you need. If you can handle more, then do it. You can’t communicate how awesome donors are too much!

Thank you emails will follow the pattern

  • Thank your donor for their donation / support
  • Tell them how their donation is being used

Mission related emails will follow the pattern

  • Tell a story related to your mission. Think impact here.
  • Major donors your hero of the story
  • Thank them for transforming a life – helping your cause

Need / appeal

  • Tell us a story that illustrates the need
  • Ask
  • Thank
  • When did you have to turn someone away?
  • Is there a waitlist you want to help?
Saving Time

The best thing about email is that you can schedule them way in advance. If you decide to send one email a quarter, you can schedule all 4 at one time for the entire year! Since you know your basic content, writing email won’t take long. Sit down in half to a full day and get it done for the year.

Another time-saving tip 

Use a story bank for your stories. A story bank is simply a strategy to store and reference stories from your nonprofit. Having stories saved up will help you save time when you need to find a story.

 

Get your email schedule and start.  Consistency is key in an email schedule.

 

Sample Schedules 

 

One email per quarter (minimum schedule)

 

Q1

Jan-Mar

Feb Thank you themed email
Q2

Apr-Jun

May Mission/Donor Centered email
Q3

July-Sep

Aug Mission/Donor Centered email
Q4

Oct-Dec

Nov Need Statement and Appeal (4th quarter)

 

Mid-range schedule (every other month approximately)

 

Q1

Jan-Mar

Jan

Mar

Thank you- Donor Centered

Mission and Donor Centered

Q2

Apr- Jun

May Mission Centered
Q3

Jul-Sept

Jul

Sept

Need/Appeal

Thank you- Donor Centered

Q4

Oct-Dec

Oct

Dec

Mission Centered

Need/Appeal

 

Ambitious schedule

 

Pro tip- Add a story from your mission page or website. Use in an email and social media when you need a story but don’t have time to find one.

 

 

Q1Jan-Mar JanFeb

Mar

Thank youMission/donor centered

Mission centered

Q2Apr-Jun AprMay

June

Thank youMission centered

Need appeal

Q3Jul-Sept JulyAug

Sept

Thank youMission centered

Mission centered

Q4Oct-Dec OctNov

Dec

Thank you- donor centeredMission Centered

Need/appeal

 

Another Pro Tip and Timesaver- lay out three stories now that you want to tell. The 4th will come from your year-end campaign.

 

Need more help? I write Donor Retention Plans for organizations. Check out the plans or schedule a free call to talk about how I may help you.

 

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Keywords: nonprofit donor retention, email

Tags: Fundraising

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