While nonprofit donor acquisition is often the most talked about when it comes to fundraising strategies, a lot of nonprofits overlook one major element to meeting their funding goals:
Well, no more!
We’re going to chat all about nonprofit donor retention, why it’s important, and (the best part!) how to retain donors.
Let’s get started!
What is Nonprofit Donor Retention?
But what exactly is nonprofit donor retention?
Well, let’s first discuss donor acquisition. That’s all about using strategies to find and convert new supporters into donors! That might look like getting new donors who are supporting them monetarily. Or it might mean getting new donors who share their time or talents by volunteering.
Then! We have nonprofit donor retention. That is all about using strategies to keep those donors engaged and supporting your nonprofit time and time again. For some organizations and donors, that might look like contributing annually. And for others, it might be more often like every month.
Why is Donor Retention Important?
We know what it is, but why is donor retention important?
It’s is a key element of meeting fundraising goals for one major reason: it’s much easier to ask someone who’s donated once to then donate again.
The Donor Journey
Every donor goes through something called the donor’s journey. It’s very similar to a “buyer’s journey” in the for-profit world.
Before a donor is ready to make a donation, they need to go through a few phases. Number one: they need to know your organization exists.
Then, they need to warm up to your nonprofit. That looks different from person to person and from generation to generation. For example, when it comes to millennial giving, millennials donate to nonprofits differently than baby boomers.
Once a potential supporter is warmed up to your nonprofit organization, then they step into the consideration phase.
And after that? That’s when they hit the decision phase. And that’s where they decide, “yes I’m going to donate.” Or “no, not now.”
For some people, the donor journey is long. And for others, they want to act quickly. Either way, seeing your nonprofit multiple times (think upwards of 15!) is a wonderful way to make sure your nonprofit stays top of mind. That’s why we suggest using things like a social media strategy and even social media ads!
But ultimately? Whether they act right away by making a contribution or they take several months to decide, donor acquisition is a much longer process than donor retention.
How to Retain Donors with 4 Effective Nonprofit Donor Retention Strategies (That Include Technology!):
If you’re ready to get busy, then buckle up! Because we’ve got 4 effective nonprofit donor retention strategies to help you do just that.
And since they’re coming from Nonprofit-Apps? You know they’re gonna use some awesome nonprofit technology!
1. Get Quality Information from Your Current Donor Database
Your nonprofit and your donors exist on a two-way street. You may be sending things to them in the form of social media posts, paid social ads, or nonprofit newsletters.
And when they do make a donation, you might be quick to send a thank you note or even a thank you video.
But as we’ve learned with millennial giving, donors want to communicate and engage with your nonprofit.
So even more than giving them a chance to comment on your social posts, give them the opportunity to tell you how your nonprofit is perceived in their eyes!
Use nonprofit surveys to collect quality information from your current donor database.
2. Create An Incredible First-Time Donation Experience
To really make an impact, you’ll want to wow them the first time a donor makes their donation.
Let’s put this into perspective. Let’s say you’re on your lunch break, but you needed to run a couple errands. While you’re out and about, you pop into TJ Maxx. You pick up one thing, totaling, – eh – about $35.
Now, you like this thing pretty well. You’re already envisioning what it’s gonna do for ya.
You start to walk to the checkout line. But you realize, the line is winding allll the way through the queue. People are crammed in there, shopping carts full of the items they want to purchase.
And there’s only one. Register. Open.
So, what do you do? Well, you don’t have time for that! You put the item back and you walk out empty-handed.
And you tell yourself, “that’s the last time I go into TJ Maxx at least for a while.”
That same scenario can absolutely happen to your donors. If your online donation process is clunky? It’ll be hard for them to make an initial donation, let alone come back and make another one.
Make the donation process super easy for them so they’re likely to come back again and again!
A fantastic way to do that? Using an online donation platform! These tools make the process so easy for you to set up and so simple for your donors to actually contribute. They’ll want to come back over and over because of how awesome you’ve made the donation process!
3. Show Up in Their Inbox and Ask Again
When someone makes a donation, make sure your process involves asking if they’d like to sign up for your nonprofit email list.
Their email can automatically be added to your nonprofit email marketing software. And from there, your newsletters will land in their inbox.
That’s perfect for keeping them warmed up and engaged with your nonprofit. It’s an excellent way to continue developing your donor relationships with them.
Then, in the future, you can reach back out to them and ask for another contribution. It’s a great way to call on donors who have contributed at least once before. Because we know they’ll likely contribute again if you just simply ask!
4. Build a Donor Membership Program
Our final fun way to build donor retention! It may be a great idea to build a donor membership program. This is an awesome program you can create that donors can opt into once they make their initial contribution.
And plenty of online donation platforms make it so simple for you to do this. Right on the donation page, supporters can choose if they’d like to sign up for recurring donations. You can set the options for them, and offer automatic recurring donations every month, quarter, or year.
If you want to learn more about starting a donor program, check out our sister site, CharityHowTo! They’ve got a fabulous free training on how to get started: