I believe investors that are willing to be patient and hold shares for the long term are likely to be rewarded handsomely if they invest in shares which grow their dividends at an above-average rate.

Take for example Retail Food Group Limited (ASX: RFG). The master franchisor of brands including Gloria Jeans and Donut King is one of the best dividend shares on the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) in my opinion. It has grown its dividend for nine consecutive years and I’m very confident that this year the trend will continue to make it a decade of increases.

According to CommSec, Retail Food Group’s dividend yield is estimated to be a solid 5.6% this year. Whilst this is a great dividend, those that invested in its shares 10 years ago will be receiving an incredible yield on cost of 37.5%. Yield on cost is the dividend yield based on the original price of your investment.

Let’s put this in perspective. A $10,000 investment in Retail Food Group today is expected to pay investors a dividend of $560. Whereas if you had invested the same amount 10 years ago when its share price was 80 cents, this year you would expect to receive a total dividend of $3,750.

In my opinion this demonstrates just how rewarding it can be to find great dividend shares early on. So I’ve decided to pick out three shares which I believe could follow the example of Retail Food Group and provide long-term investors with growing dividends in the future.

Altium Limited (ASX: ALU)

Altium is a growing software company that enables businesses to design printed circuit boards for connected devices. Its addressable market is expected to grow at a very strong rate in the future due to the growing demand brought on by the rise of the Internet of Things. In the last 10 years it has grown its dividend by an average of almost 21% per year. According to CommSec, analysts are expecting it to continue growing at 28% per annum for the next couple of years.

Ozforex Group Ltd (ASX: OFX)

The shares of this online international payment services company are forecast by analysts to provide a fully franked estimated 3.6% dividend in the fiscal year 2016. This 8 cents per share dividend would be an increase of almost 20% from last year’s 6.7 cents per share dividend. The company has recently undertaken its Accelerate Strategy in the hope of growing at a strong rate in the next few years. If it succeeds with its strategy then I believe the dividend could continue increasing at a good pace for a number of years.

Webjet Limited (ASX: WEB)

The growing online travel agency may only pay a 2% fully franked dividend at present, but thanks to its outstanding growth prospects I feel this could change in the future. Analysts are forecasting its dividend to grow by a huge 26% per annum through to FY 2018. I agree with this view and believe the strong performance in its interim results is a sign of things to come. In the first-half of its fiscal year it produced stunning EBITDA growth of 26.4% year-on-year. I’m very excited by its potential and think it could be a great long-term investment today.

Finally, these three fantastic new breed blue chip shares could also be great options for investors today. Each pays a solid fully franked dividend and could provide share price gains in the months ahead in my opinion.

Why These 3 Blue Chip Shares Are Set to Soar in 2016

Discover The Motley Fool's Top 3 blue chips for 2016. These 3 'new breed' shares pay fully franked dividends AND offer the prospect of significant capital appreciation. Simply click here to gain access to this comprehensive FREE investment report.

No credit card required!

HOT OFF THE PRESSES: Motley Fool’s #1 Dividend Pick for 2017!

With its shares up 155% in just the last five years, this ‘under the radar’ consumer favourite is both a hot growth stock AND our expert’s #1 dividend pick for 2017. Now we’re pulling back the curtain for you... And all you have to do to discover the name, code and a full analysis is enter your email below!

Simply enter your email now to receive your copy of our brand-new FREE report, “The Motley Fool’s Top Dividend Stock for 2017.”

By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. We will use your email address only to keep you informed about updates to our website and about other products and services we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from Take Stock at anytime. Please refer to our https://www.fool.com.au/financial-services-guide">Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Altium. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.