Anatomy of a Committed Donor
The data is overwhelmingly in favor of retention, with every donor retained increasing his or her lifetime value by 100 percent or more and often 150 percent to 200 percent when we include the cost of acquiring a replacement on your file.
There is a large body of academic work dedicated to understanding and explaining what contributes to good and bad interpersonal relationships. In the for-profit marketing world, these basic relationship principles have become the framework for determining how to maximize profitability.
The journey starts with the need to establish a functional connection to the brand, often expressed as being "reliable." The donor knows what to expect from your organization; the experience is consistent. Fail to do this and you fail, period.
Achieve this basic level of functional or satisfaction-based connection, and you have the opportunity to build the personal connection, which is a more emotional one.
Trust — not the often deceptive pattern of repeat behavior via RFM analysisis — is the linchpin to true loyalty. It's the kind of relationship that moves the donor to overlook shortcomings, give greater share of wallet, promote the organization and go out of his or her way to engage with it.
This is not abstraction. The Committed Donor, based on a national study of recent, frequent cause donors, can be expected to give 131 percent more over a three year period. In financial terms this means, on average, $200,000 more for every 1,000 committed donors.
But what happens?
If the first gift represents some level of progress toward a relationship; what is it that is not happening between the first and second gifts to undo what might have been a long-lasting relationship? How about the often cited, almost trite, "thank you" or acknowledgment? If there was ever a specific, concrete action to build the bridge from functional to personal, this is it.