Access Your Free Nonprofit Email Checklist!

Discover the 12 essential elements for every nonprofit email.

Bonus: Get FREE access to my Introduction to Nonprofit Email Marketing course and discounts on my other courses!

How to retain donors by illustrating the impact of their donation

Nonprofit Email Marketing

Last month I began discussing how you can use nonprofit email marketing to improve your donor retention.

In that post, I asked you to consider what your first time donors want from you.

I hope you’ve been reflecting on that questions, and I hope you’ve been taking actions based on your answers.

Today I want to discuss how you can use email marketing to provide information almost all first-time donors want to know…

“How did you use my donation and what impact did my contribution have?”

I cannot stress enough how important it is that you answer this question for your donors.

I’ve had conversations with countless donors who gave up on supporting a nonprofit because they never took the time to let them know how their donations were used.

If your organization does not have a system for telling donors how their contributions were used and the impact their donations made then please make this a priority.

If you’re not making an effort to give them this information then you will never have a strong donor retention record.

But don’t worry…

Below I’m going to discuss how you can use an nonprofit email marketing system to let donors know how their donations are used and the impact their support makes to your beneficiaries.

The best part? The whole thing can be automated.

Segment & automate

After someone makes their first donation to your nonprofit they should be moved to a new email list. I recommend creating a list specifically for first-time donors.

This way you can provide content directly targeted at first-time donors that gives them all the information they need, answers all their questions, and ensures they continue to support your organization.

This process would look something like this:

Improve donor retention with nonprofit email marketing

Once your first-time donor is placed on this list it should trigger a series of pre-written emails that are sent out on an automated schedule.

Not sure how often to send email to this list? Check this out: How often should you send email?

This automated series of emails will need to include lots of information distributed over time to your first-time donor.

Today, we’re focusing on how to use this series of emails to inform the donor how their funds are used and the impact their donations have on achieving your mission.

Illustrating impact

The best way to show your first-time donor the impact of their donation is by telling a great story about how your nonprofit used donor funds to make a significant difference in the life of one of your beneficiaries.

You should take your time with this story. Your first-time donor is interested and wants to know what you do and how you do it so don’t make the mistake of giving a quick summary of the story.

Really tell this story.

Give the full background, set the context, and provide all the crucial details. Tell the story from the perspective of the beneficiary and be sure to capture their gratitude to the organization and the donors that support it.

You can and probably should tell this story over the course of multiple emails.

This will make sure you don’t bog readers down with a 2,000 word story they don’t have time to read all at once and will also build anticipation for your next email because they’ll want to continue the story.

This is a great way to create an open loop and increase email open rates.

Telling this story well will give them an example of how you use donations and the impact it has on the lives of your beneficiaries.

If you tell this story well the reader will be filled with positive emotions around their donation and they’ll be excited to continue their support to the good work you do.

During this time, encourage them to “hit reply” and let you know if they have any questions. Giving this access will also make a big difference in earning their trust and continued support.

Want to learn  how to tell great nonprofit stories? Check this out: Master Nonprofit Storytelling


  1. It is essential that you let all donors know how you use donations and the impact their contributions have on your beneficiaries
  2. Email is a great way to ensure all of your donors get the information they want in a timely fashion
  3. Create a separate list for first-time donors that triggers a series of automated emails.
  4. To illustrate how you use donations and their impact tell a great story of how donations were used to make a significant difference in the lives of one of your beneficiaries
  5. Tell this story completely over multiple emails that utilize open loops
  6. Encourage your first-time donors to hit reply and let you know if they have questions

I can assure you, putting this simple automated email system in place for your first-time donors will make a huge difference in donor retention.

If you want to learn more about nonprofit email marketing systems and get access to free training and discounts on my coaching and training programs sign up for my email list below.

Keep doing good work,
Jeremy Signature



0 comments… add one

Leave a Comment