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How to maintain donor support

Donor retention is key!

Donor retention is key!

Retaining donor support is essential to the successful future of any charity or non-profit. It is one thing to gain initial support, but wholly another to retain that support and encourage regular donations.

The Fundraising Effectiveness Project put commercial business customer retention rate at 94%, compared to 49% for non-profits. Since 2003 the non-profit sector has increased by over 60% so now more non-profits are competing for donors, which could be the reason as to why retention rates fell 10% between 2006 and 2011. The study also found that 65 out of the 2,377 non-profits surveyed had a retention rate of over 70%.

Here are four tips to increase your rates of donor retention:

  1. Keep it personal. Understand your donors’ interests by carrying out surveys to know exactly how they interact with your cause.
  2. Separate your list. This way you can make communication more personal and appeal directly to donors’ interests. Good CRM systems will allow you to separate your list by location and donor level.
  3. Say thanks and maintain contact. It’s not enough to send out automated emails anymore. Instead, send a personalised thank you message detailing how their donation will help the cause and keep the donor informed of its impact. Charity: water makes the effort to ring their supporters on their birthdays.
  4. Encourage donors to ascend the ladder. Use data to know exactly how much and how often your donors are giving. If they are giving four times a year, it might be worth considering making them a monthly donor.


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