[GUEST POST] Four Easy Ways to Increase Donor Retention Ahead of Year-End Fundraising

We’re frequently asked by fundraising professionals, “How do we retain our existing donors?”

It’s an age-old dilemma, not to mention the pressure felt, to keep up with donor retention rates that increase year after year. Especially as we turn our attention to the year-end fundraising season, the need to keep donor retention high is a priority for all nonprofit organizations.

Thankfully, there are four easy ways to increase your donor retention rate ahead of the year-end fundraising season. Keep reading for best practices on donor retention strategies that you can start implementing now and motivate your supporters to give – and give generously this year.

1. Demonstrate Your Value

As a new or existing donor, nothing is worse than feeling like your gift has simply evaporated into the abyss. Donors are too frequently left wondering how their generosity is being utilized by an organization and whether it actually created a positive impact. When donors know how their gift is being used, and the impact generated, they’re more likely to give again. Here are a few ways to demonstrate your impact to your supporters to keep them motivated to give:

  • Include impact stories in your newsletter
  • Use social media to your advantage by documenting impact stories
  • Provide quarterly, biannual, or annual reports to your supporters

2. Get Personal

While saying thank you is a natural part of the acknowledgement process, it’s surprising how often it can be forgotten about. Donors expect the usual auto-generated receipt, but did you know personalizing your thank you communications shows donors just how much their gift means to your mission?

Personalizing your thank you communications can help a donor’s gift move from being felt like a transaction to a transformation. There are a variety of ways to personalize your donor’s thank you:

  • An email sent within 24 hours of the donation with a personalized name, project, or campaign contributed to, and a quick video showing its impact
  • A handwritten note by a staff member or volunteer within one week of the donation
  • A phone call by a board member within one week of the donation
  • A thank you letter enclosed with tax deductible receipt

3. Automate Your Efforts

It’s not surprising that automation is on the rise for nonprofits. With daily tasks, meetings, stewardship calls, and more competing for your attention, you may be looking for ways to save time.

Automation is an excellent way to scale your stewardship efforts and increase your donor retention – all at the click of a button. With a responsive nonprofit CRM, you can create workflows that help reduce staff time on routine tasks and increase donor retention. You can create workflows that:

  • Thank and steward first-time donors to give again through a series of emails
  • Add segmentation actions that remove first-time donors once they’ve made a second contribution
  • Remind staff or volunteers to call or send notes to donors who have given in the last 24 hours
  • Target recurring donors to continue showing the impact of your cause and the effectiveness of their monthly donations

4. Don’t Neglect Recurring Donors

Recurring donations are a powerful way to keep donor retention rates high and create a sustainable stream of donations to your cause. Sustain these important donors by keeping tabs on their activities and behaviors.

When organizations neglect their recurring donors, they see a steep decline in those contributions in January. Monthly donors are 1.4x more likely to churn in January than any other month. It’s critical to keep stewarding monthly contributors throughout the year and especially during the year-end fundraising season. You can do this by:

  • Inviting them to a private, intimate tour of your facility to show progress made in the last year
  • Sending personalized communications – emails, postcard, or letter – thanking them for their support
  • Enlisting board members to call and express their gratitude for their dedicated support
  • Send a quick video thank you

Use these ideas as a way to keep your donor retention strategies focused on your supporters to help deepen your connections. These strategies are sure to make your holiday and year-end campaign strategies easier so you can focus on inspiring donors to continue giving into the next year! 

By Kelly Cristaldi, Sr. Partner Marketing Manager, Virtuous

Kelly Cristaldi serves as Sr. Partner Marketing Manager at Virtuous. In this role, she helps identify opportunities with partners to help fundraisers increase their supporters’ generosity.

Before joining Virtuous, Kelly worked for five years in the animal welfare sector and specialized in marketing, PR, and fundraising, focusing on major donors and corporate sponsorship.

Leave a Reply