It’s almost Halloween in the U.S., fright night to some, when we are reminded of the Grim Reaper.
Falling Donor Retention!
“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.
Another way is to complete a development audit (it’s like a productivity or return on investment report). When I complete an audit I track 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 say thank you and ask what motivated the person to give.
Oh, in case anyone is blaming the continued decline on the new tax code. If you are a member of AFP read Michael Rosen’s October 2018 Advancing Philanthropy article: “Is the New Tax Code Good or Bad for Charities.”
You can also contact me to learn more about audits, surveys, and how segmentation might prove helpful.
May you not be haunted by lost donors from past years this Halloween!