Most nonprofits shy away from asking donors to give a second gift just weeks after their first donation. They fear their current donors will get burned out due to multiple asks, or they’re afraid they might offend them by implying that their first gifts were generous…but not quite generous enough.

Unfortunately, organizations have shied away from making that second ask so often, that more than half of new donors don’t make a second gift at all. It’s unfortunate because we know the second gift is a vital part of the giving lifecycle. In fact, donors who give a second gift within three months of their first tend to have a lifetime value (LTV) that’s four times greater than other donors’ LTVs.

That’s why making your second ask centered on noncash giving is a powerful opportunity — and it’s one that many organizations are missing out on today.

Take a look at these two possible introductions to a solicitation:

Version 1

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Johnson,

Thank you so much for your generous contribution to the Saginaw Bay City Charity. Because of your support, we’ve been able to provide food and shelter to more than 600 citizens over the course of the last three months.

As you know, the need continues to grow, which means we need your support now more than ever. Please consider making an additional gift today so we can continue serving our community tomorrow.

Version 2

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Johnson,

Thank you so much for your generous contribution to the Saginaw Bay City Charity. Because of your support, we’ve been able to provide food and shelter to more than 600 citizens over the course of the last three months.

As you know, the need continues to grow, and we’re committed to doing all we can to serve people in need in our community. That’s why we’re excited to share that we now have the ability to accept noncash gifts — things like cell phones, used electronics, gift cards, vehicles, and much, much more.

Visit this link to learn more about which items we’re able to accept and how simple it is to increase your impact on the Saginaw Bay City Charity through a noncash donation today.

One of these versions would be an easy email to write, an easy phone call to make, and an easy ask to share during a fundraising dinner. One of them is not.

The reasons for the difference are simple. The second version gives you:

  • New information to share
  • A second “first ask” since you’re asking for something different (a noncash gift)
  • A new value proposition — donors can turn their unwanted and unneeded items into cash for your cause

This simple addition to your fundraising strategy could be just the change your organization needs to turn the corner on donor retention. But why stop at a second ask? Once you open the door to noncash giving, you can further utilize it in your fundraising efforts across the board.
Here are a few examples of how you can do that:

NonCash Giving Matching Challenge

Work with one of your major donors to put together a matching gift challenge. Your donor agrees to make a cash donation that’s equal in value (up to some fixed dollar amount) to what you receive in noncash gifts during a set time period. Not only will you increase awareness of the noncash giving option, but you’ll also have the opportunity to show that a noncash gift is as valuable as a cash gift by bringing the two together.

NonCash Giving Bingo

Make giving a game! Create Bingo cards — either digitally or on a mailer or both — that list different categories of items that can be donated (vehicles, electronics, smart phone, etc.). The goal is for a donor to try to fill up as many of the Bingo squares as possible by making noncash gifts that fall under the different categories. A more simplified version would be to create and post a Bingo card on your website. Ask all of your donors to work together to help you fill in at least one item from every noncash donation category on the card during a set period of time. And once the card is filled, it will trigger some special celebration event.

Double Your Impact

Give your donors the opportunity to double their impact by donating a noncash gift that’s similar or equal in value to their cash gift. Provide suggestions of commonly donated items that fall within that particular dollar value range.

The possibilities are endless, and noncash donations are a win-win for everyone involved. By providing a noncash giving option, you’re not only allowing donors to make a greater impact for your cause by clearing out unnecessary clutter and increasing your dollars in the door, but you’re also strengthening donor relationships. What could be better?