How to Close the Gap on Donor Retention

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In the midst of the global pandemic and social and economic crises in 2020, what unfolded was an unprecedented level of generosity. Donors showed up to support and protect the causes and movements close to their hearts that were in need of funding throughout such uncertain times.

Last week, nonprofit leaders gathered together to discuss this unique time in giving and how organizations can close the gap on donor retention in 2021. Tune into this conversation to learn more about how your nonprofit can be more responsive to build personalized donor relationships at scale.

Key Donor Retention Strategies for 2021

1. Create donor relevance 

If what you are communicating is not relevant, one touch point is too much.

Craft a thoughtful journey for your donor. Does what you’re communicating speak to their heart and does the channel reflect their preference? Does a donor want to hear from you through email, text, mail, or face-to-face? Take them on a journey that shows them the impact of their gift in their preferred channel in order to create a meaningful experience.

What motivates a donor to give is two-fold. One motivator is your mission, while the other is actually the needs of the donor themselves. What are their concerns, how do they identify with your mission, what are their wants, and what does a donation mean to them?

As fundraisers, we need to be in such a deep relationship with our donors that we know the intimate motivators for giving that are most relevant to the donor themself.

2. Measure and look for evidence of impact

If you have the right data and you understand how to use it you can have as high quality a conversation with thousands of donors as you can one-on-one with a major donor.

We need to be speaking specifically to the interests of donor groups as well as speaking relevantly to when and why they gave. If a new donor was motivated to give during the pandemic, there is a frame of reference to share what that donor’s donation supported in the context of the pandemic, and how it pushed the organization’s mission forward.

Data goes beyond transactional information. Use your data to unearth touch points that include:

  • What content on your website do your donors engage with most?
  • How does that inform what they are most interested in?
  • What is their engagement history with you?
  • Have you surveyed your donors to collect qualitative data?

3. Practice presence: what can you do right now? 

Ask yourself, “What can I do today to positively impact a donor relationship?”We often get caught up in our campaigns and projects that take time to develop and execute. Create intentional space to execute donor retention right now:

  • Pick up the phone and call 10 donors
  • Write 5 hand-written thank you letters
  • Record a personal video to 15 donors and post them to their social media

We don’t have to be overwhelmed by the to-do list. We can make a difference now and move the needle forward with our donors. Simplify your actions by the best use of your time and identify what keeps you from doing that day-to-day.

Responsive Fundraising: The Blueprint for Engaging Modern Donors

Traditional fundraising strategies no longer work. This blueprint explains why today's donor expects more, and how nonprofits are shifting to responsive fundraising.

Get the Blueprint