To sort out how you can retain more donors, you need to understand why they stop giving in the first place.
So, why do donors leave?
While there are many reasons donors stop giving, but the most likely reason is one that’s easily avoided. It can all be traced back to one big mistake: the way they were treated by the charity. Remember: donors give through your organization to create an impact in their communities that they can’t make happen on their own. They want to make a difference, and when they’re not acknowledged or updated on the difference they’ve made, it’s challenging, if not impossible, to make them feel like giving again is a good idea.
How does this happen?
- They didn’t receive the level of communication that would have led them to give a second gift.
- They weren’t appropriately acknowledged.
- They weren’t updated on the impact of their gift.
- They don’t understand how their individual contribution creates results.
- They weren’t properly solicited.
Do any of these sound familiar? If you’ve made any of these mistakes with your donors, you’re not alone. Instead of beating yourself up about it, make it a priority to take some simple steps to turn the situation around.
Assess Your Donor Retention Situation
First things first, take a look and see where you are with your donor retention rates and the number of active vs. lapsed donors you have. Calculate your donor retention rate by examining the previous year’s worth of donors (this could be your calendar or fiscal year) and comparing them to the most recent year’s donors (important: this needs to be from the same pool of donors so you’re comparing apples to apples). A simple example formula:
(Those who gave in 2014 who also gave in 2015/Those who gave in 2014) x 100 = Your donor retention rate (expressed as a percentage)
Once you know where you stand, you can decide what to do and track your progress to ensure you’re moving in the right direction!
Review Your Donor Stewardship Process
Audit your donor communications from the first contact throughout the lifespan of your donors. Then, compare that to a timeline of your donor churn rate. These are the critical moments at which you need to prepare compelling, proactive outreach. If you already send communications in advance of these time periods, it’s probably time for an overhaul of your targeting and message.
Need to improve donor retention at your small nonprofit? (Who doesn’t, right?) Download our free webinar, 7 Secrets to Wildly Better Donor Retention. I’ll help you take some immediate actions that will keep your donors. Watch it now.