3+ Powerful Ways to Turn COVID Donors Into Repeat Givers

July 28, 2021 Brian Isaac

There’s an undeniable shimmer and attraction to everything new! ✨

And since many nonprofits have experienced an influx of donors making their first gifts during the COVID-19 pandemic, there's an opportunity to turn them into repeat givers, and we're going to show you how.

And while new donors deserve their rightful consideration, we'd encourage you to also consider previous givers who stepped up their giving during the pandemic.

Let's jump into it by first understanding our donors and identifying our segments.

Identify segments

Segment by giving dates and dollars

Use your systems to query for donors whose first gift was prior to January 1, 2020 and modest (maybe less than $100) as well as the largest gift is on/after January 1, 2020 with a higher dollar amount.

Use dollar amounts and a differential that is significant to your organisation. You might also consider leveraging cumulative giving within distinct timeframes.

Segment by gift type

Identify those donors who may have changed their gift type to you from one-time to recurring or even stock gifts.

Use Your Giving Frequency Data

Identify donors who gave one or fewer gifts in 2019 or prior and more than one gift in 2020.

Bonus tip: Also use fundraising software or analytics tools that offer a straight-forward, ‘calculated for you’ label (or score) to indicate if donations are trending down, holding steady, or rising (over a three-year period).

Create opportunities

Now that you have gathered your segments of interest, let's use your data and analytics to prioritise these crisis donors and create opportunities for them to become leadership donors.

Study the ”cream of the crop” donors

Determine your aspirational target gift range and likelihood, then lean into the last 12 months to identify those most likely to donate to your organisation again.

Consider the following questions during your review:

  • Have they reached, or has their recent giving brought them closer to their customised, aspirational target gift range?
  • Are there commonalities in this group that you can use to inform your messaging or requests?
  • Could you even identify a clear segment of potential major donors from their invested assets, net worth or affluence persona?
  • Have you tracked in your CRM other meaningful data points such as event attendance or past volunteer hours?

Remember that different data sets provide unique data ‘lenses’ to consider!

Effectively communicate

First, take an honest look back to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you thanked your donors in a timely, authentic, and meaningful way?
  • Have you moved beyond sending messages to them and tried to open a two-way dialogue?

Use the timing of the donation (early in the pandemic or motivated by the vaccine rollout?) to speak about the impact of their gift. If the donor made multiple gifts, be sure to acknowledge that, perhaps in the first paragraph or the P.S.

You have a significant and timely opportunity with these donors in allowing them to self-identify as someone who wants to be more involved, engage at a high level with your organisation, and learn more about who they are and what matters most to them.

Inspire meaningful investment

Communicating the impact of increased philanthropy and connecting their ability and interest with tangible examples at micro and macro levels can be motivating. Are you positioned to accurately articulate the impact of a $100 gift? A $2,500 gift? Are you able to update your impact statements on an annual basis in cooperation with your program colleagues? If so, you can both align and inspire.

Remember: the goal is to increase their giving and connection, not to plateau or simply repeat!


We're confident you can identify donors who are demonstrating increased responsiveness and generosity who will be your organisation’s next leadership donors. I challenge you to think about strengthening your relationship with these donors, beyond simply retaining them. Take what they have told you over the past 18 months and create paths towards deeper connections that will be mutually fulfilling and beneficial.

And remember, we're always here to support you, so let us know how you go!


Looking for more fundraising resources, strategy, and inspiration?

Visit our Resource Hub for our up-to-date blog, plus industry trends, fundraising tips and tools, strategic webinars, case studies, and lots more.



This post was adapted from Creative Ideas for Using Data to Turn Today's Crisis Donors into Tomorrow's Leadership Donors on sgEngage by Tanya Cole.

Previous Article
Enter Now to Win A$15,000 for Your Charity!
Enter Now to Win A$15,000 for Your Charity!

Calling all charities! Submit your best online fundraising idea now for your chance to win A$15,000 for you...

Next Article
3 Benefits of JustGiving® Reports You Might Not Know
3 Benefits of JustGiving® Reports You Might Not Know

The right data can provide valuable information. Check out these extra-nifty JustGiving reporting tips that...