Winning the Campaign for Donors’ Hearts and Donations
Retaining donors is essential for ongoing 'wins'
We all know the pain of acquiring new donors, only to watch them fade away without ever giving second gifts. The only thing that hurts more, perhaps, is when a longer-term donor stops giving.
Setting goals to improve your retention is essential — as is then strategizing methodologies to make those goals a reality. You're probably going to have to spend money to increase your retention, but a simple calculation can help put a value on the payback of that effort: Say you want to increase by 3 percent (for example) the number of donors you retain this year compared to last year, and every retained donor last year had an annual value of $XXX. How much more income would that conceivably raise? Multiply $XXX by 3 percent of last year's donors — that's your potential! (And see what I meant about numbers in the last section? I'm sure I lost a few readers in this paragraph.)
That's real money. How much can you afford to invest in solid, well-thought-out plans to achieve your goal, and therefore raise that additional revenue?
Donors appreciate the human moments
It's hard to get all warm and comfy with an organization. Reading "We're a 501(c)(3) organization committed to maximizing the investment of our strategic partners to empower the disenfranchised" may be factual, but it's lacking the "heart" that helps us mere mortals connect.
Don't be afraid to divulge some personality with your donors. Sharing a personal story about how one of your projects touched you, saying "I'm sorry" when you make a mistake, picking up the phone and calling just to say "thank you for your gift" or handwriting a short note on a receipt — all these help donors feel more connected with your organization.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.