How to Follow up with Volunteers


Acknowledging your volunteers is just as important as acknowledging your donors, and you can do that by sending out a follow up!

In this article we are going to be looking at why, how, and when to follow up with your volunteers. Volunteers are the powerhouse of the organization! Knowing how to send follow ups and how to make them effective is KEY. Sending out those follow ups as soon as you can will result in a good volunteer experience and increase the likelihood that volunteers will return for more work, and even become donors!




Following up with your volunteers is important because volunteers are what keeps your nonprofit organization going. Volunteers donate their time and effort for a cause as long as it provides them with the personal satisfaction of doing good for others as well as a positive network of individuals who all care deeply about the cause. It is not only courteous, but necessary to follow up with them to gain valuable feedback about their experience with your nonprofit and give them more opportunities to donate. Follow-ups help volunteers feel in the loop and keep them involved in the work.

Apart from helping with your nonprofit’s mission, volunteers also seek charity work to gain experiences, network, learn new skills, add to their resume, and more. Sending out follow ups to gain feedback is beneficial to your organization and to volunteers. You can then use that feedback to improve your programs and it will increase the likelihood of volunteer’s returning, sending referrals to your organization, and building relationships.

Once you have established good relationships with your volunteers, it could result in them turning into donors down the line!




Following up with your volunteers can be as easy as sending an email. The point is to maintain good communication. But it is a good idea to show effort in the way you follow up with them. The way to show effort can be evident in how you follow up and what you say in your follow up.


3 Points to Always Include in your Follow Up:

  1. Acknowledgment of Gratitude: saying thank you in a personal way

  2. Progress Made: letting them know how their efforts have helped the cause

  3. Include a Survey: to gain insight of their experience


Make sure when you follow up with your volunteers, it reflects that you spent time and effort in contacting them. Volunteers put their time and effort into helping your organization, so you should do the same! Handwritten and personalized notes are an excellent way to show volunteers that their contribution is valuable and recognized. You should make it easy for them to respond back to you by including your email, phone number, or social media information.




A good time to send a follow up is as soon as possible! Try to aim to get those follow ups out within one week of their experience. This is especially important when you want to gain feedback from your volunteers. This is because their experience will still be fresh in their mind. It will also add to their experience to get that extra thank you soon after they spent time volunteering. When you maintain good communication, it builds relationships. Strong relationships with your volunteers will turn into strong donor relationships! It is all about the long game!



To wrap things up, we covered why, how, and when to follow up with your volunteers. It is important because volunteers are essential to keeping operations running. A follow up can be sending an email to writing a letter, but remember to put in effort so that volunteers feel their work is being reciprocated. The sweet spot of sending out follow ups is within one week or as soon as possible.




Want to know how to increase your average donation amount? Here are 9 easy steps that will tell you just that!

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Elevating Nonprofit Success: Navigating Donor Retention in 2024


In the ever-evolving landscape of nonprofits, the perennial debate persists: is it more financially effective to spend on secure new donors or on retaining existing ones? While the consensus often tips in favor of acquiring fresh supporters, the undeniable truth is that maintaining a robust donor retention rate is equally pivotal for long-term success.

Nonprofits that boast high donor retention rates nurture a loyal community, fostering consistent returns year after year. Conversely, those grappling with lower rates find themselves stuck in a cycle of perpetual donor acquisition, consuming more time, money, and effort in the process.

Let’s delve into the art of reshaping your fundraising strategy to cultivate a thriving donor retention approach while considering the latest trends and challenges from 2023.

Key Topics

1. What are Current Challenges in the Nonprofit Landscape?

2. How to Craft a Robust Donor Retention Strategy?

3. What are Some Popular Donor Retention Tactics?

Donor Retention Data

1. What are Current Challenges in the Nonprofit Landscape?

Neglecting donor retention efforts can result in unfavorable outcomes that no nonprofit willingly faces. According to FEP’s Quarterly Fundraising Report™, in Q3 of 2023 there was a -7.3% decrease in donor participation that was driven by low retention and acquisition rates. Donor retention has been steadily decreasing after the rise in donor participation in 2020 and early 2021. This alarming trend underscores the urgency for nonprofits to fortify their strategies and resist this decline.

The attrition rate, representing the pace at which donors are lost, significantly impacts the size of your donor database each year. Equally concerning is the reality that when donors cease contributions, the likelihood of their return diminishes drastically.

It’s crucial not to underestimate these challenges. Instead, always assume that if a first-time donor doesn’t contribute a second time, the odds of their return are slim—data supports this trend.

2. How to Craft a Robust Donor Retention Strategy?

Building an effective donor retention strategy doesn’t have to break the bank, especially considering the financial constraints nonprofits often navigate. Here are three key elements to fortify your donor retention efforts in 2024.

Rely Heavily on Proven Data
Effective donor management hinges on quality data. Identifying where to focus your efforts for maximum impact and tracking retention and attrition rates become seamless with the assistance of donor management software.

Put a Special Focus on First-Time Donors
The early stages of a donor relationship are pivotal. Data underscores the importance of retaining first time donors, emphasizing the need for creative approaches that align with your nonprofit’s mission to encourage subsequent contributions. Thank you cards and newsletters are a must!

Choose Tactics You Can Execute Well On
Amidst the myriad of donor retention tactics, avoid overwhelm by selecting a few that align with your strengths. Don’t just go through the motions—stand out by executing chosen tactics with sincerity and authenticity.

3. What are Some Popular Donor Retention Tactics?

What you should NOT do is go through the motions so that you can check them off your list.

Some popular donor retention tactics, tailored for 2024, include:

  • Thank donors promptly
  • Segment communications effectively
  • Provide updates on outcomes
  • Incorporate personal touches through phone calls and handwritten notes
  • Conduct donor surveys
  • Offer recurring gift options

Read our article on best practices for increasing donor loyalty


The secret to boosting donor retention lies in the unique relationships your nonprofit builds with each supporter. Understanding your donors, their preferences, and actively working to maintain these connections are pivotal components of a successful donor retention strategy.

Explore how Postalgia can help deepen your donor relationships by sending heartfelt thank-you cards. Our services encompass design, copywriting, list hygiene, mail preparation, and a comprehensive suite of direct mail production services, ensuring your gratitude resonates with every recipient. As we face the challenges from declining donor retention rates in 2023, let’s collectively strive to reverse this trend and secure a brighter future for nonprofit success in 2024.

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Authentic Communication with your Donors

Key Topics




The nonprofit sector has the fundamental goal of people-helping-people. Consider the powerful motivator that authentic connections bring to this noble cause.

The three key takeaways are simple yet profound: Stay true and consistent, prioritize your donors by showing genuine interest, and craft personal experiences. Enhance your communication methods with personalized and specific details, making a meaningful impact on your donor relationships.

Infographic- nonprofit stewardship: why it's important


Lady holding sign with smiley face on it

All nonprofit organizations have a cause that they are passionate about. Before you communicate with your donors, you need to establish a set of values and beliefs that your organization follows. Make sure when you set up those values, you are being true to yourself and to your cause. To have authentic communication, you need to BE AUTHENTIC.

Once you identify your core principles, you must represent them in every message and any form of communication. You may not be popular with everyone, but at least you will be showing community members that you are true and consistent. The main point is to stick to your set of values and beliefs, but there are more Principles for Authentic Donor Communications that Build Relationships.



Two women holding letter
Make sure to put effort into focusing on your donors. Remember, without your donors you can’t support your cause! Maintain relationships with donors by consistently communicating and creating opportunities to connect with them.

There are various ways to stay connected with your donors and maintain authentic communication. You can schedule regular meetings in person or virtually to provide the opportunity to interact with them. This is the time to have discussions about your organization’s progress and get the opinion of the members. You can ask questions like: Why are you passionate about the cause? What is your preferred method of communication? How would you like to take action?

You can also connect with your donors by sending them information via digital and physical communication methods.



Social Media
Community Events
Impact Reports
Thank You Notes
Website Blog
Google Forms Questionnaire


The main focus should always be on your donors, so you can build authentic relationships.



Yellow Graphic - letter and envelope
To keep up with authentic communication, you can create personal experiences! How do you do that? Well, make sure to keep donor profiles and use their names when sending emails, newsletters, donation cards, impact reports, and postcards. It is also important to consistently send messages to donors and volunteers to let them know your organization is working hard for the cause.

A little bit of effort goes a long way, especially when you want to create personalized  experiences. Emails and text messages only go so far and are often overlooked, so it is important to seek other forms of communication. Sending handwritten note cards and direct-mail packages addressed to specific donors, tells your members that you value their support.



To summarize, figure out what your nonprofit is passionate about helping, stick to your values and beliefs, focus on including your donors, and organize personalized experiences that show your donors how much effort you put in.


Put the effort in and delight your donors with a handwritten note!

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