“Glad to meet you”
By Amy Nicely
Senior Project Manager, BBS & Associates
“I’m glad to meet you.” That’s what we say.
But when someone trusts your ministry with their email address, that’s the time to say it and mean it.
Communicate effectively with a new contact — or a new donor — and you’ll have a better chance of keeping that contact … and maybe even inspiring future donations.
How? Set up a “welcome email” strategy.
Write an automated series of emails that go to new prospects or donors at pre-determined intervals.
Your series can consist of 3 to 5 emails — each message designed to help that person understand who your ministry is, what you do, how you do it, and, most important of all, why they will want to participate personally in the work.
- The initial goal: Provide enough of an authentic emotional connection — not just information — to make them excited about what you’re doing and how they can get involved.
- The long-term goal: Build trust and loyalty.
- The danger: Telling them what YOU love about yourself. Ministry leaders and workers tend to love the “nuts and bolts” of the ministry operation. Donors and prospects don’t love that stuff. They want to know about IMPACT. Who are you helping, and how? The human aspect of your work is what will click with prospects and donors.
Speedy initial follow-up is crucial, so automate the process. The moment an individual gives you their email address is the moment when they’re most interested, and most likely to respond warmly to communication.
Automation also lets you re-engage (with little effort) during the days and weeks after they come aboard.
But don’t write your welcome series and then forget about it. The text of your emails can become outdated without you realizing. So put a reminder on your team’s calendar to review the series content every 90 days — or at the very least twice a year.
What do you say to a newcomer?
- Keep each email short and simple.
- If they’ve given, gratitude is your biggest message. If they’re a prospect, start with gratitude anyway — express appreciation for their interest in your ministry.
- Include ways to connect with the ministry. Provide free resources and/or tools if possible.
- Don’t overwhelm them with calls to action — stick with one, two at the most, per email.
- In the final email of the series, ask for a donation.
What’s the schedule? Send the first emails rapid-fire:
#1 goes out immediately after donation or sign-up.
#2 goes out 48 to 72 hours later.
#3 and following go out 3 to 7 days apart.
How to know what works best? Test various schedules.
Welcome well, and you’ll move people from strangers to “interested” to engaged participants to passionate advocates for your mission. You’ll increase your rates of donor conversion and retention. You’ll be creating authentic, personal relationships with like-minded people.
For help implementing your organization’s welcome series, please contact Amy Nicely via firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-665-5227.