Donor retention measures donations from donors after their first donation. This can be difficult in any circumstance— let alone in the environment of economic uncertainty and a global health crisis we are seeing today.
As a nonprofit professional, you likely know that charitable contributions make up a crucial portion of most nonprofits’ funding. You also may know that it’s easier and more cost-effective to retain a repeat donor than to be constantly searching for new, one-time donations.
And yet, maintaining a high level of donor retention can be difficult in any circumstance— let alone in the environment of economic uncertainty and a global health crisis we are seeing today.
Around the world, times are getting tough and wallets are tight. Many hard-working individuals around the globe have lost key sources of income on account of the global pandemic and calls for social distancing. As a result, many nonprofits are likely to see an increased lapse in donors during this time.
Are you looking to boost your fundraising revenue and better engage your nonprofit supporters even through the tough times? Let’s walk through 4 key strategies for an improved donor retention plan that can help your nonprofit both in today’s pandemic condition and in the long run. Be sure to:
- Make every dollar count (more!)
- Leverage donor data
- Invest in the right resources
- Personalize your outreach
The way you relate to your supporters and constituents in this time of disruption will play a huge role in your donor engagement levels for years to come. Investing the time and strategy now will pay potentially huge dividends by building lifelong relationships with your community. Are you ready to get started? Let’s jump in.
1. Make every dollar count (more!)
When funding is tight, both within the nonprofit world and on an individual basis, donors must be convinced that their donations are making a tangible difference. Otherwise, they’ll choose a better recipient for their hard-earned cash. What better way to show that increased impact than through the promotion of matching gift programs?
As you incorporate matching gifts into your fundraising strategy, the benefits of corporate philanthropy can help your nonprofit as you:
DTD_Araize_Donor Retention 4 Strategies for the Long Term_Matching Gifts
- Demonstrate the value of each donation. Provide specific examples for where donor funding is going. For example, when a donor submits a match request, they can feed two hungry children instead of one!
- Gather more and larger gifts. According to Double the Donation’s matching gift statistics, prospective donors have cited a higher likelihood both of making a gift and opting for a larger gift if they know a match is being applied.
- Emphasize a doubled impact. When donors submit a donation match request, they are met with the joy of knowing their gift is going twice as far— potentially even farther than they could go on their own.
With the right tools in hand, you can begin promoting matching gifts to your generous supporters and see your fundraising revenue start growing. And remember, donors who are satisfied with the use of their gifts are more likely to keep coming back! Doubling their impact is the perfect way to ensure they know they’re making a bigger difference than ever despite today’s challenges.
2. Leverage donor data
Between the information collected within your online donation pages, communication and messaging, and that readily available on the web (when you know where to look!), there’s quite a bit of donor data right at your fingertips.
The most important part is knowing how to use that data to guide your fundraising strategies. When you strategically seek potential donors you know will be interested in your mission, you increase the chances that these individuals will, in fact, support your organization.
These three factors can give you a better understanding of a prospect’s likelihood to give:
- Wealth screening looks at a prospective donor’s ability to give, based on public information such as real estate, stock holdings, and job titles.
- Philanthropic indicators, like previous donations and major giving history, can tell you whether the individual tends to get involved with charitable organizations on a general level.
- Aligning passions inform you of whether the prospect has given to similar organizations in the past, and whether they’ll be likely to support your mission!
By doing this research beforehand, you can save valuable time by avoiding unlikely prospects, and instead target those who are willing and able to give— and to keep giving!
When you collect and analyze the right information, you’ll be able to easily use your data to improve marketing strategies and donor communications— both of which are vital to ensure a high level of donor retention.
3. Invest in the right resources
Nonprofits are often encouraged to keep overhead costs as low as possible. After all, the majority of donors want to know that their generous gifts are being used toward the mission, not the administration.
However, skimping out on overhead costs can lead to an ineffective toolkit and an inefficient staff. Sometimes, investing in overhead costs is exactly what you need to set your organization up for success.
Make sure you have the right tools in place to ensure effective:
- Financial management: If you want donors to give to your organization, you have to prove that you can be a responsible steward of their funds. This means keeping accurate financial records through bookkeeping, accounting, and tax forms.
- Communication: Manually sending individual messages to supporters is time-consuming and inefficient. Automated marketing and communication tools can do the same work in a fraction of the time!
- Staffing: Trying to have one or two team members doing everything at a growing nonprofit is not going to work out well. Although you may be saving on payroll, you’re also cutting any chance at growth and efficiency.
Shelling out the funds upfront for key tools and resources can seem overwhelming at times, but it’s an important step for nonprofits that want to run effective organizations while attracting and retaining donors at the same time.
4. Personalize your outreach
Gone are the days of sending the same messages to your entire email network. Your donors each have a different background and history with your organization, and should be treated as such.
Customizable communication tools allow you to send different messages to different donors, based on factors such as:
- Location: Consider targeting your communications by location. For example, if you have a group of supporters concentrated in an area highly affected by COVID-19, you can customize your messaging to reflect that.
- Age group: Today’s philanthropic contributions come from 5 different generations— from the Silent Generation to Gen Z. Each generation is different than the one before it, and as a result, requires a different approach to fundraising. For key insights into targeting each segment, check out these statistics and best practices here.
- Type of donor: Adjust your messages based on whether the recipient is a prospective, first-time, repeat, recurring, or lapsed donor. Whichever category they may fall into should dictate the language of your communications, to form strong relationships with each!
When a donor can more personally relate to the message they receive, they have a higher likelihood of opening, engaging with, and responding to the message. After all, this is the key to ensuring strengthened relationships with donors and increasing fundraising revenue.
Boosting donor retention levels can be difficult, especially in a time of economic stress, but it is a fundraising tactic that is worth investing in.
By maximizing the value of each donation, taking advantage of available data, ensuring access to the right resources, and personalizing your donor targeting strategies, you’ll be all set to run successful campaign after successful campaign— and bring the same dedicated supporters back each time!
About the Author
Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Connect with Adam via email or on LinkedIn.