The Key to Long-Lasting Donor Relationships

It’s no secret that our sector has a problem with donor retention. Though the numbers have improved over the years, still over half of all new donors never come back to give a second gift (according to the AFP 2015 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey). Not exactly encouraging.

The good news? There are many things you can do to stem the tide of donors who never give again. They all come down to one thing—building relationships. And like all good relationships, your interaction with your donors hinges on frequent, sincere, and clear communication.

Remember, while charitable giving involves dollars and cents, it’s ultimately about making an impact and connecting a donor’s generosity with tangible change. Donors feel good (and are more likely to give again) when they know that their generosity is appreciated—and put to good use. As someone who works in your nonprofit day in and day out, it’s easy for you to see how important a donor’s contributions are to your mission. But for a supporter without that level of contact—like someone who attended your spring gala but hasn’t heard from you since—it’s not something that’s easily visualized. You need to remind donors of the important impact they have. They are responsible for the positive change you bring to your community.

For happier donors who give again, you must commit to a plan of frequent, donor-centered communications.

Show your donors how much they matter, how much they are appreciated, and how much more impact they can have by continuing to support your nonprofit’s work.

Keeping donors engaged doesn’t have to be difficult. Timely, personalized thank you letters and monthly impact reports make a huge difference. Tell your donors something their gift has accomplished. Share with them some of your plans for the coming month, and thank them for their continued support. (Hint: Use your donor management system to send more targeted messages to smaller segments of donors, sorted by giving level or program, for example.)

To make it easy for fundraisers like you who have the best intentions, but very little time, we’ve created a free fill-in-the-blanks Donor Messaging Kit. With it, you can create your monthly email plan in just a few minutes. It’s really simple—just jot down a few key points about your nonprofit, and a year’s worth of donor stewardship emails are ready to go!  Get your copy today!


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