The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

The 6 Keys to Donor Retention

If your favorite sportswear company is Nike, you’re not alone: Seventy-percent of Nike’s customers say they would buy a Nike product again. Unfortunately, the opposite is true for nonprofits, and 70% of first-time donors never go on to give again. Follow these six simple tips to become the Nike of nonprofits and start turning first-time donors into lifetime givers:

1. Connect early and often.

After a donor gives you that first donation, welcome them! Say thank you, let them know how grateful you are, and tell them what you plan to accomplish with their funds. You can also ask first-time donors how they would like you to communicate with them and how often.

2. Be personal.

Segment your donors so that a first-time donor receives a different thank you letter than a repeat donor or a VIP donor. That simple separation will make a big difference to your donors, who’ll be happy to know that you recognize their uniqueness.

3. Relate to donors like they’re great friends.

Donor retention is built just like a friendship: Sometimes you call your friends, sometimes you write to them, and sometimes you invite them to an event. Put the same variety of communication to work when getting to know your new donors.

4. Rally supporters to send your message.

All of the messages you send to your donors don’t have to come from you. If someone benefits from the funds raised at your event, ask them to write a letter about why that was meaningful to them, or let a sponsor write about why they chose to be involved. There are many different messengers you can call on to sing your organization’s praises.

5. Show how you’re achieving your mission.

Are the donations you received being put to good use? Let your donors know all the good work they’re helping you do whenever you contact them.

To learn more about keeping your donors involved and getting more recurring donations, access the archived presentation of Nonprofit 911: Turn First-Time Donors Into Repeat Donors with Tom Ahern and Jay Love.

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About This Blog
Caryn Stein hi res

Caryn Stein
Vice President, Communications and Content, Network for Good

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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