State of the Sector
Jo: Very true!
Roger: Consequently, the cost of donor acquisition goes up because the return on investment — because of shorter donor lifespan (attrition) — goes down.
Polly: We tell our clients that new-donor retention should be viewed as an extension of their acquisition investment.
Kurt: How much of retention is just plain increased competition?
Roger: I don’t think very much, Kurt. Frankly, I think it’s because groups have not adapted to the changed nature of the donor universe. We have moved from the “tell me” type of loyal donor to the “show me” type of more skeptical donor.
Roger: And if there is anything everyone MUST learn it is how to be transparent and accountable to new donors to show them just what their help and involvement is accomplishing.
Kurt: And show me really means show ME.
Kurt: Donors, like customers, are looking for relationships, not sales calls.
Roger: Yes. Absolutely.
Jo: It’s true — as we began ramping up our sustainer investment, one of the key costs was the customer-service center, dedicated Web areas … all that stuff … to create a safety net!
Roger: And that’s why Polly is correct in her view that retention needs to be viewed as part of the acquisition process.
Polly: And there are many new donor-retention strategies and techniques that have proven to boost retention and giving frequency.
Roger: You’re one of the few who see it this way, Jo. A sad commentary on our trade. But the sad fact is that when I present a retention or loyalty budget that involves donor service, etc., the answer is usually, “Well, maybe sometime.”
Margaret: So no matter what strategies or combination of strategies you use, it all has to boil down to more intimate and accountable relationships with donors?
Kurt: I think it’s more the relationship has to be specific to the donor, which is why Web 2.0 is so fascinating.