The GuideStar Blog retired September 9, 2019. We invite you to visit its replacement, the Candid Blog. You’re also welcome to browse or search the GuideStar Blog archives. Onward!

GuideStar Blog

How to Keep Your Donors Giving Year After Year: Seven Revealing Factors You Need to Know

Year after year for the past decade, donor-retention rates have been sinking. Today they’re at an all-time low.

As more and more donors abandon ship, the cost of replacing them has grown so great as to be no longer affordable for most nonprofits.

It doesn’t have to be this way, as I show in my book Retention Fundraising. In those pages I outline a proven process for increasing donor retention.

Here I’ll touch on seven factors important for keeping your donors giving year after year.


Does the Nonprofit Sector Need Fundraising Physical Therapy?

Muscle memory. It helps us move and function.

A few years ago when I strained my hamstring while running, it was excruciating. Only months of dedicated physical therapy re-trained me for healing and strength. My body had to re-learn not to overemphasize and over-rely on just one set of muscles.

It’s about behavior patterns. And I believe the nonprofit sector has a muscle memory problem.

That’s especially true in light of the Giving USA report released in June.


Donor Retention: 6 Ways to Create Lasting Relationships

You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you’re going to have a strong superstructure.”

—Gordon B. Hinkley

The foundation for a strong nonprofit fundraising strategy is building relationships with your donors. By focusing on building relationships, you’ll see better donor retention over time. Better donor retention rates mean a higher lifetime value for your donors, resulting in better return on investment (ROI) for your nonprofit’s donor communications efforts.


6 Fundraising Questions to Ask Yourself Today

I recently had the honor to be part of a panel discussion releasing a new report on the state of fundraising in the U.S.


Reduce Payment Processing Costs and Build Your Sustaining Donor Roster

Few of us think twice when we pull out a card to pay for a shopping cart full of groceries or a plane ticket. We enjoy the cashback or miles we’ll be getting, and whatever the merchant has to pay in processing fees is of no concern to us.


2019 Fundraising Trends—And How to Take Advantage of Them

I view January and February as a test run of sorts, before we really embark on a new year and new resolutions. This may feel especially true as we’re still figuring out what happened in 2018. Last year we saw lower year-end fundraising results. We saw a decline in the number of donors who give in the lower to middle end of the giving range. And whether those developments have anything to do with changes to the tax law remains a question.


8 Tips to Enhance Your Fundraising and Donor Relationships

All of a nonprofit’s actions are interconnected. If you do something to enhance your fundraising, that action is likely to affect another one of your strategies as well. Therefore, make sure you’re thinking through how one decision will affect each and every one of your strategies.


Show Me the Love: Creative Ways to Steward Your Donors

As development professionals, we often find ourselves laser-focused on closing gifts to reach our revenue goals. On average, gift officers spend more than three-quarters of their time identifying, cultivating, and soliciting new leads. While it is important to focus on actions that drive revenue, stewarding donors once the gift is secured helps maintain a strong and active donor pool.

It is important to show donors just how special, valued, and appreciated they are. Investing in stewardship techniques and developing strong relationships has been proven to lead to more frequent and larger gifts. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we wanted to share some ways to show your donors the love. From basic best practices to customized approaches, below are some tips to activate your donor base and maximize revenue through stewardship.


Retain More Online Donors with These 5 Fundraising Strategies

Online fundraising has become one of the most prominent trends in the nonprofit world. As Millennial and Gen Z donors make up a larger percentage of donors, nonprofits have found that they need to adjust their fundraising strategies to be more accommodating to this new audience.


Nonprofit Tech Solutions: A Guide to Ramping Up Donations

The new year (calendar or fiscal) typically comes with increased funding goals. However, this doesn’t always have to cause stress! Higher goals should boost your own confidence in your organization because it shows that you are passionate enough about your mission to want to grow.