What’s the Grim Reaper for fundraisers?
Donor retention (or lack thereof)
As a recent report from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project indicated, fewer people are making gifts and donor retention is sliding. But you don’t have to believe me, world renown Professor Adrian Sargeant says:
“The donor retention landscape is actually lousy at the moment and is going of all accounts, from bad to worse.” (Bloomerang, A Guide to Donor Retention).
What’s a fundraiser to do?
- Become familiar with the term donor retention. You can read the Bloomerang Guide mentioned above or view it in video form on the Fundraising Effectiveness Project
- Visit the Tools section of the FEP website to learn how to track your nonprofit’s retention rate and other key variables.
- Read the FEP PDF about how to use the FEP report to your benefit.
When I complete a development productivity review (some call it a development audit) for nonprofits we look at five years of data to even out any possible peaks and valleys. For example you may have had extra donors the year that a volunteer made a special effort to get more people to register for the golf tournament or to attend your gala.
Are retention goblins are already haunting you as you track and watch your retention rate drop?
What else can you do?
- Ask new donors about their communication preferences and interests via a brief survey. (See Sean Triner’s Moceanic website to learn more about surveys, here a Link to the free portion for those with limited budgets)
- Develop an email welcome series to share information that new donors want to hear about (you’ll learn about topics that they want to hear about in the results from your survey).
- Call or have volunteers call new donors to day thank you and ask what motivated the person to give.
Contact me at email@example.com to learn more about a development productivity review. I can help you determine your retention rate, decide whether it is as healthy as it can be, and suggest next steps to keep donor retention ghosts and goblins at bay.