Donors come and go. If you’re lucky, they stick around through thick and thin because they truly love and support your cause. However, it’s inevitable that some will leave. When they do, it’s important to understand the reasons why donors leave. This will help you prevent attrition in the future.

Based on research and our work with donors and various organizations across the globe, here are six of the most common reasons why donors stop giving.

1. “I’m not able to afford to support the organization.”

If this is the true reasoning behind a donor stopping their support for your organization, offer other ways for them to get involved. Just because a supporter can no longer afford to give to your organization doesn’t mean they can’t contribute in other ways, including volunteering their time.

Remember that circumstances change for us depending on the seasons of life, and although the donor may not be able to monetarily support your organization, you can get them involved. That way, when they are ready to give again, they’ll still have a relationship with your nonprofit that’s stronger than ever.

2. “I don’t feel connected to the organization anymore.”

This is the, “it’s not you, it’s me” scenario, and it happens in all types of relationships, not just romantic ones. Sometimes people lose the connection to a cause they once embraced. There could be several reasons for this—maybe they’re looking for new people to connect with or their interests are evolving.

While there isn’t much you can do to counteract this reason for leaving, you can evaluate your fundraising materials and website to determine if your organization is telling a compelling story. Ask yourself—would the materials cause you to give?

3. “I have no memory of ever supporting that organization.”

While this sounds like a once-in-a-while situation, it happens more often than you’d think. Many people donate because somebody close to them was doing a fundraiser, or they were approached to give and in the moment decided they were able to contribute as a one-off.

Even if a donor doesn’t remember supporting your organization, you can do your best to educate them on your cause. Who knows—you may be able to chat with them and establish a newfound connection and relationship.

4. “They ask me for too much money.”

Typically, organizations ask for too little too often. However, the frequency is most likely what the person leaving has an issue with. Remember that small donations over time can equal just as much as a larger one-time donation. If the person is telling you that you’re asking for too much, ask them about communication preferences so you ask less often.

5. “They don’t tell me how my money is being used.”

If an organization isn’t forthcoming about how donations are being used, it can’t expect donors to stick around for long. Bottom line: People want to know that their money is making a difference. If supporters don’t understand their impact, they’ll find a new place to invest.

The easiest way to combat this reason for donors leaving is to give your donors an option to contribute to specific initiatives within your organization. If you aren’t able to silo donations toward individual initiatives, ensure that you give timely and regular updates to donors on how their money is being used and the impact it is making.

6. “They never reminded me to give again.”

This is one of the top reasons donors leave. They never received a message as simple as, “Thank you for donating last year. Would you like to give again this year?” It’s something so obvious, and yet we let small things like this get in the way of our own success. Ensure your communications are set up to send donors a thank-you every single time they give, and that you continue to express your gratitude throughout the year. And most importantly, many donors are never going to give if you don’t ask.

These are six common reasons why donors leave, along with some ideas to help boost retention. Now, take it a step further by learning these additional ways to get donors to stick around for the long haul. We’re talking about creative ways to say thank you, visuals you can use to tell your story and so much more.


Boost your donor retention rate