The Magic of Donor Retention

Did you know that 65% of new donors never make a second gift? And after five appeals we are down to only 10% retention. This has a tremendous effect on our ability to generate a consistent flow of revenue for our nonprofit organizations.

Why are we losing so many donors who were inspired enough to give a first-time gift? The answer is simple. We aren't giving them what they need! Donors desire three things after giving an initial gift and before giving a second. When we provide these three things, we move them from one time donors to engaged, committed investors in our organizations.

Research indicates that the following three actions highly influence a donors inclination to give a second gift:

  • A prompt and genuine thank you for each gift - regardless of the value.
  • Assigning the donation to a specific project or program.
  • Informing the donors about how their gift created impact - specific to the assigned project or program.

When these three activities take place PRIOR to a second appeal, the likelihood of recurring donations is increased significantly.

When donors were polled about why they stopped giving 69% responded with “over-solicitation” (being asked to give again before being satisfied about what was accomplished with their last gift). By taking the time to understand why a donor gives and assigning his or her donation to a program that supports that, we begin a new “conversation” about their investment in your organization. Communication becomes specific to their desire to contribute and become part of a solution. Your donors’ need for information about results becomes very easy to satisfy and they are more inclined to give the next time you ask.

How are you responding to your donors’ needs? Taking the time to understand and respond can greatly influence the revenue you generate.