29 Tips for Gaining and Retaining a Donor Base
In a Forum for Fundraising webinar last month, Pat Rich, principal at EMD Consulting Group, outlined 29 recommendations for how organizations can gain donors and retain their donor bases, touching on everything from planning your program and acquisition and renewal strategies, to upgrading current members and creating member surveys.
According to Rich, the structure of a development effort for a membership program has three main components: methods to acquire donors with benefits, a program to retain donors, and efforts to move members into donor clubs and major giving.
When deciding whether or not to have a membership program for your organization, Rich suggested asking and answering the following questions:
- How would a membership program support our mission?
- Why do we need and want members?
- Do we have tangible benefits that make sense and correspond to the dues we are asking?
- Are we able to distribute and provide the benefits in a timely manner?
- Are we able to solicit members during the year for other projects if necessary?
- Are we able to provide member service?
- Do we have a consistent communications program?
- Are there activities or programs that we can provide?
- Do we offer recognition for members (membership cards, for example)?
- Do we have the human and financial resources to keep the membership program going?
Her 29 tips for gaining and retaining a donor base are:
Plan your program
1. Know the purpose. Are you trying to build a constituency, gain active participation, attract volunteers, strengthen relationships, promote interest in a subject area, gain social ties or increase income?
2. Create a plan. What is the purpose of the program? What are its goals, i.e., the major ends to be accomplished? Define objectives: tasks that are measurable have a time frame and are assigned responsibility. Create action plans: What are the steps for accomplishing the objective leading to accomplishing the goal?