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Focus More On Donor Retention


We focus so much on fundraising events, crowdfunding, fundraising ideas and fundraising websites that having a singular focus on donor retention requires more attention. How to get to know your donors, appeal to them and keep them coming back may be overlooked questions. How to find out what they are thinking and feeling is also underestimated in its impact on fundraising.

What donors want

  1. To know your work
  2. To experience your passion for your cause
  3. To know you
  4. To visit your projects
  5. To know your work and connect to it emotionally
  6. To know your failures – to hear what you learned from them
  7. To know their donation was received
  8. To know their donation was used for what it was intended
  9. To know of the impact their donation had
  10. To have opportunities to give their feedback
  11. To talk to the other donors
  12. To see realistic goals, timeline and budget
  13. To hear clear strategies and objectives
  14. To know you have done your homework in your pitch to them
  15. To form an emotional bond with you
  16. To be remembered - keep in touch with donors
  17. To receive less printed material and email
  18. To have open discussions with you and other donors
  19. To see satisfied staff, staff retention and staff unity
  20. To hear these words - thank you

How to accomplish this long list of 20 fundraising tips on donor retention can be realized through a few approaches:

Town Hall Meetings

Live town hall meetings are an effective forum for donors to gather and voice their opinions and raise questions to your nonprofit organization. They are exposed to other donors and community members and hear their feedback.

Online town hall meetings provide convenient ways to brief donors on the progress of a specific program, announce a new program or fundraising campaign. Nonprofit program staff and administrators who are well informed can engage donors in a lively town hall meeting at both live formats and online. Recordings and videos of the meetings posted on social media platforms engage new donors in fundraising for nonprofits.

One-to-One Donor Relationships

One-to-one meetings with donors start with finding out what you have in common over coffee or lunch. Starting with a request for a donation is not the best idea. Get to know each other and share your passion for your cause and work.

Staff members and board members may chose two or three prospective donors to act as the primary liaison between the donors and your organization. All of same donor retention objectives apply in acting in this role  – listening, sharing and informing. Invite them to tour your programs and sit with them at fundraisers. Stay in touch with phone calls, emails and intimate meetings.

Donor Social Mixers

Building strong relationships with donors is encouraged at donor centric events. A casual social mixer is a way to show staff unity and share stories of your nonprofit. This November #GivingTuesday brings new and old supporters to your nonprofit fundraising mission, and having a special gala to say thanks is important. Consider a charity gala such as a holiday wine tasting to create further opportunities to get to know your donors. They’ll be happy to pay a registration fee, as they know your overall efforts are about fundraising. Tell them of the impact their donations have on your organization specifically. Honor donors individually for their contributions in fundraising for nonprofits.

Donor Open House

Invite donors to your nonprofit and go into depth about your work with individual booths or programs areas. Timing for an open house may be as a part of your year-end #GivingTuesday fundraising for nonprofits. Invite social media followers and encourage donors to bring a friend.

Donor Team Fundraising

Peer to Peer Fundraising is an excellent strategy for nonprofit organizations in brining donors together. The power of crowdfunding or a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign lies in its teams. Even though individuals tap into their social network of supporters, donors and staff members work together on a walkathon, 5K race or golf marathon team. Each team creates a team page within the crowdfunding website. Teams meet for planning parties and get to know each other. They share their victory which is bond that adds to donor retention.

Donor Project Teams

Encourage donors to form brainstorming teams on such topics as marketing and fundraising. Use the expertise of your donors and listen to their ideas for fundraising for nonprofits. Send invitations in your nonprofit newsletter and post them on your nonprofit website with a contact person. Allow their professional expertise to have an impact and raise money. Keep your donors involved and committed to your cause.

How Money’s Spent

A real factor involved in a donor’s decision is how your nonprofit spends money. They’ll review what your administrative costs are. Many donors will consider what percentage of their donation goes towards your programs. They’ll look at whether a portion of their donation goes towards transaction fees on your donation website. Donor retention is achieved through transparency as to where their money goes.

Online Donor Giving

A very important factor to look at is just how easy it will be for a donor to make a donation. First, you’ll want to consider what the donation website will look like. Does your donation website have the same look and feel of your organization’s website, providing a seamless user experience? You also want to consider how many clicks a donor must make to complete the transaction (and keep in mind that many online donors abandon mission if there are too many steps). Is there a simple “Donate Now” button that takes donors to a form that they can easily fill out & hit submit? A big consideration is also whether or not the donation processing form “lives” on your website. (i.e. one disadvantage of processing payment via PayPal is that donors are taken away from your site.)

While it might sound like fundraising for nonprofits is not all about the funds, in reality it's about so much more. Money is simply a tool - afun way for your organization to accomplish its mission. One of the basic principles for fundraising is to see beyond just money, and see your donors. Relationships with them and showing your passion for your cause are of the utmost importance.

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