The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Donor Love Part One: 7 Ways to Keep Donors Committed to Your Cause

Donor Love


Got 2 minutes? Please tell us what you’re doing to strengthen donor relationships, and/or what’s in your way. Thanks!

Honoring your donors—and prospects—is, hands-down, the most effective approach to building strong and lasting relationships with the folks whose help you need so very much.

It’s no surprise that donor retention is an absolute priority (again) for 2015. Yet the specific how-tos of donor retention success remain elusive for many organizations. This should help…

Here’s my recommended path to donor retention recommendation in 2015: Simply R-E-S-P-E-C-T your way to strong and long-lasting donor relationships.

  • Respect donors’ wants, even when they aren’t what you want; for example, they don’t want to hear from your organization.
  • Enlist your colleagues—fundraising and beyond—to segment donors as precisely as your time, expertise, budget, and tools allow to give every donor the most personalized outreach possible each and every time.
  • Start up a donor advisory board of folks willing to share five to 10 minutes per month to help you boost your donors’ satisfaction level. You’ll get golden insights, and they’ll feel even more connected!
  • Put together an all-organization donor listening team. Ask for help from your colleagues, and demonstrate the WIIFM (“What’s in it for me?”) with specific, tangible examples. Then train, support, and thank them.
  • Execute a simple system to log, share, and analyze donor info and insights. Ensure that it’s accessible throughout your organization; otherwise, there’s not much value in it.
  • Correct your course at a moment’s notice! Your agility in adjusting your fundraising approach to fit what’s vital right now to your donors and their recent interactions with your organization is a must.
  • Take stock of what isn’t working with your donor retention program—both stats and anecdotes/feedback—and ask the donor advisory board how to do better!

Follow these seven steps, and I guarantee you’ll jump-start your donor retention program. But don’t stop here. Dig even deeper via guidance from the most brilliant donor retention gurus I know, Roger Craver and Tom Ahern.

What tops your donor retention to-do-list? And what’s getting in your way of making it happen? Please share your goals and challenges here. (It will only take two minutes!)

Read Donor Love: Part Two

With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build strong relationships that inspire key supporters to action. She shares her deep nonprofit marketing insights—and passion—through consulting, speaking, and her popular blog and e-news at GettingAttention.org.

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About This Blog

Linda Lombardi

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

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