According to nonprofit expert Chuck Longfield, a decade ago the average retention rates for donors was around 33%. Since then, that number has actually gotten worse, dipping down to 27%.
If that trend continues, donor retention rates will dip under 20%. Those numbers are shocking, and a little bit scary, but they shouldn’t discourage nonprofits and charities. The fact that not everyone is on the ball gives those that are doing it right all the more opportunity.
Here are some practices that are tried and true methods of retaining donors.
1. Develop a compelling narrative
The message is very important both in attracting new donors and keeping the ones you have. Sit down and think hard about what message your nonprofit wants to communicate and what the content you’re creating says about the organization. Start with a great slogan, and develop it out from there.
2. Show gratitude in specific ways
For new donors, send them a new donor welcome package that thanks them for their gift and gives them an overview of your organization. If they’ve given before, thank them for continuing to support the cause. This added detail shows them that you’re paying attention to where the gifts come from.
3. Build relationships beyond just the donation
Remember that you’re building relationships, not just donations. Nonprofits should have many different ways for the relationship to grow. Use social media, newsletters, and video content to engage with your community. While that might not translate into immediate ROI, think about the lifetime of donations. Foster those relationships, and they will pay off in the long run.
4. Make loyalty easy
Don’t get in your own way – make giving simple. Offer as many options as possible, and remember that as ecommerce continues to move to mobile, charities will follow that trend.
5. Value communication
It can be daunting, but listen to past donors if they choose not to donate again. Take that information and if it is useful, apply it. Do they think the cost is too high? Consider lowering the minimum donation. Maybe they just aren’t clear what your goals are. Whatever the reason, you’re better of knowing than not knowing.