In John’s words… A few excerpts from DonorCARE: How to Keep Donors Coming Back AFTER the First Gift…

Tom Ahern


  • …instead of saying, “Thank you so much for giving money to our organization so that we can change the world,” you want to say, “Thank you so much for making a difference in a child’s life.” See how the organization is removed from that narrative?
  • Connection [with your donors] is sharing … like sharing chocolate or a movie. Connection allows you and that other person to share something you both have in common. Connection means you belong.
  • Thanking is not the effect of a gift. Thanking is the causefor the future relationship.
  • As if you’re writing to a friend…
    > Message 1 – Welcome new donor, reinforce their decision to give.
    > Message 2 – Update the donor on their impact, ask for their feedback (a quick survey).
    > Message 3 – Invite the donor to give again, or upgrade to a monthly donor.
  • The more general and vague your offer is, the less likely donors will be interested. The more specific your requests, the more likely donors will feel connected to it. Batman needs to know who or what to save.
  • Avoid bragging about your nonprofit in your donor communications. Instead, brag about the donor.
  • Donors don’t give because they are generous and are thinking about someone else. Yes, everyone likes to think that about themselves … but ultimately people act and give money to an organization because they want to feel a certain way. Again, it’s about the feeling and the experience, not the money, and certainly not about your organization….
  • Feeling grateful is key to thanking donors. For donors to feel it, it must be sincere — it must be truly felt by the person who is doing the thanking. It starts with a mindset. If your only goal for thanking donors is to get another donation, then you’re missing the point. Gratitudetransforms relationships, and is the essence of reciprocity, likability, and increased value. That last part, value, goes way beyond funds raised.
  • Use second person narrative. “You” instead of “we” or “us”. Exception: First person narratives with donor or beneficiary voices can be great stories.
  • Tell the donor what they did in terms of impact, not what your nonprofit will do with their money.
  • Report back to the donor about the impact they made with their gift.
  • Reinforce the idea that your donors matter. Reinforce this truth as consistently and as frequently as possible.

AND . . . 

R U ready? Here comes John Haydon’s revolutionary new book about DonorCARE

The research is conclusive.When your charity connects with its donors … at a deeper, more emotional level … all your fundraising metrics improve: donor retention, average gift size, lifetime value … they ALL reach new heights. Hungrily consume this new book. Why? Because, when you follow John Haydon’s clear and concise “CARE” advice, you’ll attract heavier support from existing donors … see your retention rates rise significantly … and attract those passionate new supporters who’ll stay with your mission and vision longest. “A towering legacy….” Lisa Sargent, international fundraising copywriter. “Essential,” Sean Triner, Moceanic/Pareto. “This book will mean billions more in donations…” Harvey McKinnon, the legend.


  • Tom Ahern