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GuideStar Blog

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.


To Take Notes in Meetings with Donors or Not …That Is the Question!

And the answer is ...

In almost every case I think it’s totally fine to take notes. I have taken notes for 35 years, in more than 3,000 meetings with donors. Not in every meeting, but in the vast majority.


1 of 40 Fundraising Questions That Demands an Answer

How old is the typical U.S. donor?


Giving: The Science of Lasting Happiness

You know those deep, gaping, and painful existential feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, and meaninglessness you’ve been feeling all your life? That bottomless void that you’ve been so desperately trying to fill with yoga, meditation, a spiritual trip to the Himalayas, and a monthly subscription to seven of the latest and greatest “mindfulness” apps. 


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. 


Five Easy Ways to Build Rapport with Your Donors

Donors love to give but hate to be persuaded. That’s both the problem and the opportunity we face every time we create a fundraising appeal, whether direct mail or digital.


Some Things I Have Learned in My Years of Fundraising

17 axioms you will want to know:


Younger Women Take Modern Approach to Philanthropy, Suggests Study

Millennial women are moving philanthropy forward with a more social and inclusive stance towards giving, suggests a study by Fidelity Charitable, one of the largest donor-advised funds in the US.


Three Things to Consider in Mid-Level Donor Communications

Imagine giving $1,000 or more to an organization you faithfully support, but you stop hearing from them one month after you give. Worse yet, what if you never heard from them at all? This scarce communication provides no incentive for you to give again, yet many organizations are neglecting mid-level donors in this exact way. Stuck in donor purgatory between the communication strategies for small and major donors, mid-level givers like you fall into a communications black hole.


Donation Usability: Six Ways to Improve User Experience (Infographic)

As a nonprofit, your focus should not only be on directing possible donors to your donation page but also providing them with a clear, simple, and exciting donating experience. Your goal as an organization is to have all those who have reached your donation page follow through and complete the action, right?


  Your Nonprofit Profile on GuideStar has a new Demographics section.