Slowing Down the (Donor) Revolving Door, Part 2
If you've been around the block a time or two as a fundraiser, you already know that donor attrition is a fact of life. Many donors stop giving because they die, lose their jobs, go on fixed income or some other reason.
But some just stop giving. And that's what should be keeping you up at night.
Last week I wrote about first-time donors and some proven methods for retaining them. This week, our focus moves to multi-gift donors. You're still going to lose some, but with a bit of creative thinking and smart strategy, you can reduce that number.
First, look at what you are sending your donors. On a large table, spread out the letters (and envelopes), the newsletters, printed copies of e-mails, reports, receipts and whatever else you use to communicate to donors (other than living human beings; they usually don't like being plunked on a tabletop).
Stand back a few feet and walk around the table, looking in general at the donor communications you've assembled. What catches your eye, good and bad? Are you seeing great photos, colorful pieces, enough variety? Remember, we are a visual bunch of people; if all you have been worrying about are words, you may not be truly communicating to your donors. What do they see when they glance quickly at your mail or e-mail?
Make note of any changes you need to make to avoid boring your donors. Does anything need a face-lift to be as engaging as possible? Do you need to spend a little bit more to make your communications a whole lot more inviting? Engaged donors are more likely to be giving donors.
Secondly, make sure you aren't over-asking — or under-asking. Is it easy to give to your organization because almost every mailing (including your newsletter) includes an envelope and (usually) a reply form prepopulated with the donor's name and address? Are you asking donors to write their information in tiny boxes or lines that require them to write in 4-point type? Does clicking on a link in an e-mail take the potential donor immediately to the donation page, or does he or she have to wander through two, three or even four more pages to accomplish the goal of giving?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.