Solid Impressions

The average donor retention rate for nonprofits is between 40% and 45%. That means for every 100 donors you have, only 40-45 will donate the following year. But what if you could retain more of them? Imagine the impact on your mission!

The key to retaining donors is keeping them engaged with your mission. Whether you feed the hungry or support childhood education, the more you keep donors connected, the more likely they are to continue giving.

Here are five proven ways to do that:

1. Send an immediate thank you.

Donors want to know that their giving is appreciated and that it makes a difference. When people give online, for example, do more than send an automated “thank you.” Send a follow-up direct mail piece with images of their donation dollars at work. Ask them to opt into your e-newsletter to keep them engaged with the progress of your mission.

2. Keep them informed.

Printed newsletters are a great way to deepen donors’ investment in what you are doing. They provide more space to “dive deep” into projects, introduce donors to people behind the scenes, and give voice to the people and communities positively impacted by their generosity.

3. Ask questions.

When you ask donors’ opinions, it makes them feel valued. It also keeps them invested in your mission. Tell them you want to hear from them. “Where would you like to see more resources invested? Please select your top three.” Or, “Tell us how we’re doing.” Ask questions about what you do well and what could be improved.

4. Invest in a recurring giving program.

Do your donors have the option to make an automatic recurring gift? If not, this is something you should look into. Research shows that recurring donors are retained at a level of 90%.

5. Clean up your data.

Don’t let donors slip away because they moved or changed email addresses, and you lost contact with them. People change email addresses like they change their favorite clothes. People also move, change jobs, and make other changes that require updates to your physical mailing list.

Donors are the lifeblood of your mission, so keep them curious, excited, and invested in what you are doing. Maintain a consistent communication cadence and make donors feel as vital as they are!