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Boost Your Donor Retention Rates: 5 Fundamental Strategies

Year after year, campaign after campaign, nonprofits find themselves asking the same old question: why aren’t we seeing healthy retention rates?


Are You Building Relationships Or Collecting Checks?

On December 31, 2017, I became a statistic.

I joined the 60 percent of donors who become former donors to the charities they had been supporting.


Can We Halt the Steady Decline in Donor Retention?

Donor retention continues to fall. According to AFP’s 2017 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report, overall donor retention was just 45 percent last year. It’s down from the previous year. It will likely drop further this year, because that’s been the overall trend for the past decade. 

Naturally, retention varies among charities and even among donor segments, but the message is clear: Too many donors are losing interest. That’s a problem, because low retention requires more spending on donor acquisition,  which is already more expensive than retention. Here are four possible reasons enough donors aren’t staying engaged. 


Want to Keep Your Donors? Then Answer These Unspoken Questions

The days of the seemingly infinite pool of new donors available to quickly and inexpensively replace those who have stopped their support are long gone. Today, 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. 


How Quickly Should You Thank a New Donor?

Research has shown that first-time donors who receive a personal thank-you within 48 hours are four times more likely to give again. Yes, thanking in 48 hours equals a 400 percent improvement in renewal rates.

First-time donors are ardent, as I discuss in my book, What Your Donors Want ... and Why. But that ardor cools fast if you don't sustain it. It's like a campfire ignited by match from tinder. It blows oxygen across an ardent new donor, keeping that small flame alive, excited by your mission, your vision, and your potential in their lives.


Donor Retention vs. New Donors: Donor Retention ALWAYS Wins


Four Simple Ways to Keep Your Donors for Years

Whether your organization is huge, tiny, or in between, there are a number of ways to strengthen the loyalty of your donors. In my book Retention Fundraising, I describe literally dozens of strategies for retaining your donors for 5 years, 10 years, perhaps for life. Here, I’ll focus on four of the easiest.