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How to Improve Donor Retention: 8 Steps for Charities & Non-Profits
Learn the most popular and effective donor retention tactics and maximise fundraising for your charity or non-profit. See ideas, examples, and top tips.
When it comes to marketing, keeping existing customers is a no-brainer. Did you know that it costs five times less to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones? Although customer acquisition increases the overall number of customers, customer retention is what helps businesses get the most out of their existing customer base. Fostering strong customer relationships is a smart long-term strategy that boosts revenue and trust in the company.
Now it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the same principle applies to charities and non-profit organisations that rely heavily on donations from individuals and corporations. While one-off donations are crucial, maximising fundraising opportunities involves retaining donors and turning them into loyal supporters. Of course, this is easier said than done. That’s why we’ve put together 8 steps to help you improve donor relationships and retention. With these tips, you can stay on track with your organisation’s mission and continue making a difference. Let’s dive in!
1. Improve donor retention by showing your appreciation
“Every donation counts” is the message reinforced by non-profits worldwide, and as someone involved with the non-profit industry, you know how true this statement is. Make your donors feel valued and appreciated by sending personalised emails, thank you letters, or text messages thanking them promptly for their contribution. Some charities take it a step further and send personalised video messages to the donors, however, this strategy is more common for larger organisations with more resources and time.
Are you taking a moment to thank your donors? That is also a great moment to inform them about the impact their donation has made, like in the example above.
2. Communicate effectively and stay in touch with your donors
Keeping in touch with your donors regularly is a clever way of fostering relationships, whether it’s through email newsletters, social media, phone calls, or letters. Touch base with your supporters not only to ask for further donations but also to answer questions, provide updates on your organisation’s progress and be transparent about your financials and how donations are being used. Another common idea is to call donors up and invite them to local fundraising events–they foster a sense of community and connection, which has a significant impact on donor loyalty and trust.
3. Personalise your approach to reinforce donor relationships
Before sending out any communications, it’s crucial to ask yourself a couple of questions: What is the goal of your communication? What action do you want your donors to take after reading the email or letter?
Segmenting your existing donors is crucial for delivering content related to their interests and preferences. Messages that speak to their values and interests are more likely to engage the audience and encourage them to take action, for example, following your social media accounts or inviting friends and family to read about your mission.
According to our research, donors are likely to engage with content related to the fundraisers they supported, so for example, if someone donated to a wildlife protection program, let them know about the progress, share pictures from the protected or restored areas, and inform them in what other ways they can help. Some organisations take this chance to promote similar fundraisers.
4. Foster donor relationships by being responsive and continuously improving
Have you ever sent a message to a business or organisation and never received an answer? It’s happened to most of us, and god, its ist frustrating! As a non-profit organisation, you rely on public support and being responsive is a significant part of success, especially when addressing issues, concerns or complaints. The feedback from donors is also crucial for any organisation looking to improve its operations and communications. Use this information to refine and enhance your donor relations and retention strategies. Besides, by listening to your community, you open up to ideas for new initiatives or ways to improve your fundraising efforts. And who knows, you might end up implementing some of them!
5. Recognise milestones and celebrate with donors
Celebrating milestones is always fun, so tap into that! Reach out to your supporters to mark their anniversary of giving or reaching a certain giving threshold–engaging your audience and giving them the spotlight is always a good idea. Are you looking for a more personalised touch? Send donors birthday wishes and thank them for their support. Personalised messages or small tokens of appreciation to acknowledge their loyalty work magic–and boost their loyalty even further.
6. Share success stories to reinforce the importance of giving
You can never talk enough about the importance of donations. Donors want to see how their donations contribute to your organisation’s success and what kind of impact each contribution has. It’s common to see powerful statements like “Feed a child for less than 50 cents”. They help donors understand how their 200 SEK donation can change someone’s day or life.
Besides, sharing success stories of how your organisation has made an impact will encourage many donors to continue supporting your organisation.
7. Improve donor retention by inviting them to get involved
One of the best ways to retain donors is to make them feel emotionally connected to your organisation and its cause. Apart from inviting them to donate, you can also utilise this relationship to convert supporters into brand ambassadors. Offer donors opportunities to get involved in your organisation beyond giving. For example, you could invite them to volunteer at an event or serve on a committee.
Take a look at the image above to see how Missing People Sweden asked their community to share their experiences. The non-profit organisation asked for personal stories that the audience could identify or maybe even encourage some members of the community to join search operations.
Asking your supporters to spread the word about your mission and project is another popular and effective way to get your community involved. What is the easiest way to do it? Create shareable social media content that your followers and donors may want to share on their personal social media accounts. Donor appreciation posts, milestones, and success stories is what some social media users like to share on their profiles, especially if they supported the cause.
8. Make it easy for people to donate
Your cause and mission may be close to many people’s hearts but the XXI-century donor looks for convenience–this especially applies to the younger generation that has lived with technology and digitalised solutions. Making it easy to donate to your organisation is crucial for your survival! Apart from accepting traditional bank transfers and cash donations, open up to other channels, for example, opt for online payment plugins (you can use Waytobill’s online checkout), consider telemarketing and accepting payments over the phone, and give a try to social media giving by utilising all the tools available on the social media for charities. You can even incorporate QR codes into your strategy. By simplifying donation processes you boost the chances of converting and retaining more donors, especially if they sign up for recurring payments, for example, with Digital Autogiro.
Are you interested in finding out more about donor retention or conversion? Or maybe you’re looking for information about recurring payment methods? Contact us today!