Losing Donors? Quick Tips to Start Creating Loyal Donor Retention

October 3, 2015 By Lyssa Schmidt

When new faces join the pool of people making donations to your charity, it’s certainly exciting. After all, you work hard to build awareness for your nonprofit and recruiting new individuals in any capacity is certainly a sign of that work paying off.

While many organizations have a somewhat clear picture of the number of new people (e-mail signups, new Facebook “Likes,” or other numbers you are using to track this progress) — how much attention are you paying to your stick value?

When I say stick value, what I am looking for is loyal donors. Repeat donors. Lifelong donors. A name that you recognize because the donor is guaranteed to give time and again.

Fact of the matter is, acquiring new donors comes with a cost — and if you’re going to invest that much time and money into attracting new people, shouldn’t a similar effort go towards keeping them around? Creating loyal donors doesn’t have to be complicated.

Less than half of existing donors typically give again, with only about 25% of first time donors taking the plunge on their own to be come a repeat supporter. But, it doesn’t have to be complicated to set your organization up for loyal donor relationships.

There are several best practices to follow if you’d like to set up a plan for higher donor retention. For those new to donor loyalty, here is quick-hitter list of some basic ways to get started:

  1. Build relationships with your donors. Their gift is not just a one-time transaction, but rather a commitment to a cause that you both support. Go beyond “Thank you,” and show your donors that you really appreciate them by being interested in them as individuals: go beyond the small talk. Maybe this means starting with a conversation about why your cause is important to that individual — and as they open up, you’ll start to learn pieces of a personal story that might even come in handy when sharing your cause.
  2. Your donors need to know what’s happening, when, why and how. And this is more than just knowing about events that are going on — share your success stories, find emotional stories about the ways donors’ money has improved the lives of those it’s meant to impact … and make sure you share these stories! As a key leader inside your organization, you probably know many of these stories already — but, keep in mind … it’s not common knowledge! Using social media, e-mail marketing, mailings and other means will help make sure your donors stay informed.
  3. This one is simple: actually do the above two — and consistently. Develop a process and strategy for building relationships and communicating with donors, and then be consistent about following through with them.