You know that in the nonprofit sector, any and every donor is important. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to do the incredible work that you do today. One way to keep a steady flow of support is to turn your first-time donors into long-time supporters. It’s easier said than done, but with a few tips in mind, you’re on your way to successfully retaining donors.

Let’s talk about what donor retention is, why it’s important and how you can continue to build supporters that are here for today, tomorrow and years to come.

What is donor retention?

Donor retention simply means that you are keeping donors who have already given coming back. To calculate your rate, consider which donors gave during a certain year and how many of them came back to give the next year.

Why is donor retention important?

Think of your donors on a scale from one to 10, one being that they just heard about you and 10 being that they are ready to give. Donors who have already given to your organization are closer to that giving number because they know all about you, and you’ve already inspired them to give! They are what we would call further along in the funnel.

Nearly 70% of donors only give to an organization once. (Qgiv) Think of this number as an opportunity to cultivate relationships and get those donors to come back to continue supporting your organization. Here’s how!

How can my nonprofit organization improve our donor retention rate?

1. Create a personalized communication plan that welcomes and updates new donors regularly so they feel included in your mission or movement. You’ve heard the saying “out of sight, out of mind.” With open and recurring communication, they’ll be reminded again and again about why they fell in love with your organization in the first place.

2. Let your donors know how their gifts are making a difference. Be heartfelt and use ‘you’ language. For example, “Because of you, we were able to feed 1,000 families who would have otherwise gone hungry.” Tell them how they’re helping, and say it from the heart.

3. Ask why they donated and use that to begin building a relationship. Encourage them to volunteer or advocate for your cause. Get them involved in other ways.

4. Publicly recognize your donors. Put their names on your nonprofit’s website, in your newsletters, on your social media accounts or in your annual report. Don’t forget to grab their permission, as some donors may wish to remain unknown. However, many donors would love to be recognized for their contributions publicly.

5. Offer a recurring gift option on your donation form; it’s a win-win for both of you! It’s a low effort for your donors and a secured monthly contribution for your organization.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to show donors you appreciate them straight from the get-go, welcome them with a box full of goodies. Your box can include promo items, food and more fun, which will be a great first step to converting first-timer donors into your most loyal fans. Contact us today to learn more about developing a welcome gift that will start your relationship off on the right foot.


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