Why is donor retention so important? Well, much like customer retention, donor retention makes economic sense. On average, for every dollar in donations received, just 31% is retained.* This means that nonprofits are spending time and energy going after new donors when they have previous donors slipping out the back door. “Not dealing with donor attrition is a drain on philanthropic dollars,” explains Carver.
Less than a 2% chance of obtaining a gift from a new donor or prospect
a 20-40% chance of obtaining a gift from a recently lapsed donor and
a 60-70% chance of obtaining an additional gift from existing donor.
“Most organizations concentrate far too much on the new donors,” says Carver. Luckily, Carver has come up with 5 quick wins for nonprofit donor retention:
- Send a “thank you” – You appreciate your donors, right? Well then, thank them! Send them a letter or call them! Carver even suggests that the retention value is worth outsourcing thank you calls to a professional firm if you don’t have the resources to get it done in house.
- Improve Donor Services – This involves logistical items like keeping your website updated and the donation links working, making sure those answering the phones can answer questions and speak intelligently to donors, making sure you have the correct name and address on file for your donors. Keeping these types of things in order can pay off down the line when your donor feels your organization is organized and efficient.
- Be Boring – No, don’t put donors to sleep with your marketing materials. Instead, don’t be afraid to be consistant and stick with what works for your organization. Tried and true methods are just that, tried and true.
- Give donors an opportunity to voice their opinion – Offer a feedback link on your website or send your donors a survey. Giving your donors a voice makes them feel valued and appreciated.
- Pick up the phone – Donor retention improves year-over-year when donors receive a call to say “thank you.”
To view these and other suggestions from Carver’s webinar, check out this webinar and others like it on the NAYDO website.
*Urban Institute Fundraising Effectiveness Project 2013