Donor Retention Strategies That Nonprofit Supporters Love

January 9, 2019 - 9 minutes read

When it comes to donor retention, the keyword here is relationships. Donors are such a valuable part of your nonprofit, not just because of the money they contribute, but also because they are the champions of your cause. Establishing the foundation for a robust relationship and consistently nurturing it is what will keep donors coming back to you, and every donor retention strategy should aim at doing this.

Several studies have pointed out to the fact that it’s easier to retain a donor than obtain a new one. In essence, if you’re able to keep hold of your donors, you save on time and effort that can go into other activities that promote your cause. On that note, let’s look at some donor retention strategies that are guaranteed to work.

Have a Solicitor

A solicitor is basically a person who is in charge of ensuring that each donor is being contacted by the right person from your nonprofit. It’s important to have one for each donor to maintain accountability. It also helps verify if the necessary communications between your nonprofit and the donor are happening on a consistent basis.

For instance, you could build two lists with the first one including your recurring donors and the second one containing one-time donors. For the first list, you’d get someone from top management to contact them such as your executive director or a board member to show them that their contributions are valued and that they aren’t just a “regular” donor.

And for the second list, assign anyone from your fundraising team to communicate with them. They are important too and with the right nurturing, have the potential to turn into large donors.

Give Them Different Ways of Getting Involved

When we talked about building and sustaining relationships with donors to retain them, getting them involved in different activities apart from donating is a step in the right direction. Think about it— no one wants to feel like they’re being taken advantage of, especially in matters of money. If you prompt your donors to get involved in other ways as well, this is likely to help your relationship and cement your bond.

Offer them on-field volunteering opportunities, get them to sign petitions for your cause, or ask them if they’d like to phone bank on your behalf. When donors actually engage in these activities they feel closer to your organization and cause making it likelier that they’ll donate again in the future.

Outline Impact

If donors don’t have a clear idea of how their money is being used, they’re going to be less motivated to donate. As a nonprofit, it’s your responsibility to consistently show how their donations are helping you make a difference so that donors have no misgivings about their contribution.

Share your success stories with them. Talk about how their dollars helped provide clean water to a village in the Congo, about the public schools that received books, or any other form of real-world impact you realized. Post video testimonials of the people that were helped, share compelling photographs and blog posts and upload step-by-step details of the campaign as it unfolds. Apart from your regular email newsletters, use social media to show donors what you’ve achieved with their contributions and send text messages to forward them links to your blog posts or quarterly/bi-annual/annual reports.

If donors are sure that their money is being used for its intended purposes, they are sure to keep coming back.

Give Presents and Thank Them

Giving gifts to your donors is an effective donor retention strategy since it’s a clear indication that you value and appreciate their contributions. Of course, the gift you give depends upon the type of donor you’re reaching out to. You would probably give long-time and loyal donors something valuable such as a subsidized event or concert ticket as opposed to first-time donors who’d get something such as an Amazon gift card.

If you have the staff and the time, you can even consider calling your benefactors to personally voice your gratitude. Phone banking software comes in handy during these situations by helping you manage donor lists, collect survey data and segment your donor base for future outreach. And if you don’t have the workforce or time to make calls, personal text message conversations that thank donors are the next best thing.

Remember, it’s the thought that counts here. Any gesture of appreciation from your part goes a long way in convincing donors to stay.

Communicate Consistently

Even if your donors are passionate about your cause, there’s a good chance that they’ll forget about your nonprofit if they don’t hear from you regularly. You can’t really blame them—in today’s world of limited attention spans and constant barrage of content, it’s easy to get forgotten.

To ensure this doesn’t happen to your nonprofit, you need to stay on top of donors’ minds by communicating and engaging with them regularly be it through text messages, emails, or phone calls. While communicating consistently is important, you should make sure that your communications aren’t unnecessarily frequent at the risk of coming off as spammy.

Be Personal

The manner in which you phrase your messages when contacting donors makes a huge impact towards retaining them. Being authentic and personal serves to solidify your donor relationship in the long run. For instance, if you’re sending a message of thanks, instead of texting or emailing something like—”Hope Society is very grateful for your donation of $100”, phrase it a little differently—”Dear Jane, thank you so much for your gracious donation! Because of you, children will now get access to education leading to a more stable future 🙂

By adopting a friendly tone and personalizing your message, you’re showing donors that you care about them and are acknowledging their donations. When it comes to personalization, there is no better tool than p2p texting where you can simultaneously hold individual conversations with all your donors and collect data aiding in future outreach. You can even make phone calls to create a more personal sense of connection.

Retaining donors is something your nonprofit simply cannot miss out on doing. While it may seem like hard work in the short run, it is sure to pay off, quite literally in the future. Make sure to follow these effective donor retention strategies to ensure donors don’t leave.

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