4 Extra-Special Emails You Must Send Sustaining Donors

Donor Acquisition and Retention

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4 Extra-Special Emails You Must Send Sustaining Donors

Sustaining donors are the best. They’re emotionally connected with your nonprofit, and they’ve chosen to support your work with an ongoing gift. Those recurring donations make up a predictable stream of income, which is invaluable when planning upcoming programs and events!

But recruiting sustaining donors is only a part of running a great recurring donations program. You have to keep them, too! Making sure your sustaining donors receive these four particular types of emails will keep your most loyal donors engaged in your work.

Specialized Thank-You Messaging

Sustaining donors should receive thank-you messaging that specifically highlights their long-term commitment to supporting you.

We encourage all nonprofits to spend some time creating automated receipts that are special for donors. We especially encourage it for sustaining donors!

Create special receipts for sustaining donors. Make sure you include:

  • A heartfelt thank-you for their support
  • Statements about how important their support is and how it will make a difference
  • Details about their gift (start and end dates, frequency, amount, etc.)
  • Information about how to update their gift or payment method (if applicable)

Sustaining donors should receive thank you messages on a regular basis, including:

  • The day they create their recurring gift
  • Each billing instance
  • Any time they receive an update about how your nonprofit is using their gift
  • In any future appeals or campaigns

When you thank your donors, calling out their loyalty and dedication to your cause is really effective! Include phrases like “your ongoing support,” “your commitment to your community,” and others that highlight their relationship with your organization. It’ll really let them know that you recognize and appreciate them.

Regular Impact Updates

Donors want to know that their money is being used to make a difference in the world. That’s why “impact reports” or updates are such important donor retention tools!

This kind of report is especially important to sustaining donors. A sustaining donor will often give more over time than many one-time donors who give a large gift. Keeping them engaged with your work and showing them the difference they make is especially important.

One way to do this effectively is to include an impact report at the beginning of your newsletter. You can segment your list to focus on sustaining and one-time donors with just a little extra editing. For donors who have made recurring gifts, thank them for their ongoing help and show them the impact they’ve made. For one-time donors, thank them for their involvement – you may even want to include language about boosting their impact by making their gift on a recurring basis.

However you choose to approach it, ensure that you send your sustaining donors regular updates about their impact on your mission. It’ll strengthen their loyalty to you and keep them involved for years to come.

“Upgrade” Emails

Every donor expects additional asks throughout the year. But soliciting new donations from donors who already have an ongoing gift can be tricky. What’s a fundraiser to do?

One tool at your disposal is to run an “upgrade” campaign. Instead of asking sustaining to give (they’re already giving!), ask them to consider increasing the amount of their recurring gift. Ask one-time donors to consider giving again, but ask sustaining donors to give, say, $40 per month instead of $30.

This accomplishes two things. One, you’re able to increase the amount of predictable revenue you’ll see each month. And two, you’re able to ask your sustaining donors for increased support while acknowledging that they’re already actively supporting your work.

There’s one catch here: if your sustaining donors haven’t created an account to manage their own donations, your development staff may find themselves updating recurring gifts by hand. But, either way, you’ll have happy donors and more incoming gifts. It’s a win/win.

Targeted Campaign Communications

You’ll undoubtedly ask your sustaining donors to participate in other campaigns. There are a few best practices to keep in mind when asking a sustaining donor for an additional gift.

The biggest is to acknowledge their history of support. Thank them for their ongoing commitment to making their community a better place, and tell them how important they are to you.

But don’t do this! Don’t say something like: “Thanks for your support! Please donate to this program as well!”

Instead, say something like: “You’re one of our most loyal donors, and we know you’re passionate about our community. That’s why we wanted to ask you to support this program with a one-time gift of $50.”

The more you can acknowledge their ongoing involvement and loyalty, the better. The big thing you want to avoid is making them feel like you don’t appreciate their recurring support and just want more money.

More Tips for Communications for Sustaining Donors on the Qgiv Blog

Now you’ve got a solid grasp on these four emails you should be sending sustaining donors. Want to learn more? We’ve got you covered! Check out these other resources:

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