5 Keys to Deeper Donor Relationships
Donor retention continues to be a hot topic. It was a frequent topic of lively discussion at the recent Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference on Fundraising. The fact is, many organizations have donors lapsing as fast as or faster than they are retaining them.
When working on an annual-giving or comprehensive development plan, we always measure donor retention, by giving categories and the type of appeal (personal, direct response, etc.). Of great importance to every organization is having a plan to first shore up retention and then to improve it. There are a lot of statistics floating around for various surveys on donor retention. Be most concerned about your situation.
Keep trends on donor retention for your organization for the last few years; analyze, set goals and be sure that you can measure consistently going forward.
As Adrian Sargeant shares, “Improving donor retention by just 10 percent can double the lifetime value of your donor database.” Plan for increases in retention by using methods like the ones here:
Welcome donors with open arms
That first gift can be made with a lot of trepidation — it is like a first date. Sometimes that first gift comes because of a connection to someone — and not the organization (i.e., a personal fundraising campaign for a favored charity or a gift in honor or in memory of someone). Be sure that you welcome a donor with an appropriate plan tailored to his or her gift size and circumstances with the goal of retaining and upgrading the gift — making the donor a lifelong friend.
Get to know your donors
Whether direct-response donors or donors that you secure through in-person interaction, have a plan to deepen the relationship. Learn about them. Have a dialogue. As appropriate, begin to build profiles to include their birth dates, other causes that they support, professional and personal affiliations, family, and more. Reach out and learn through surveys, focus groups and personal visits. Consider regular wealth screening of your donor (and lapsed-donor) database.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.