In 2011, a study conducted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Urban Institute found that for every 100 new donors acquired by a nonprofit, the same nonprofit lost 107 contributors. For an organization investing a portion of their hard-earned budget in finding new faces to get involved, this is a terrifying statistic – and the landscape is not improving.
In recent years, the nonprofit world has seen a major shift in donor engagement strategies. Where before, many nonprofits were interested in enticing and reaching out to new donors, now the majority have transferred that energy, (and budget slice,) to retaining the loyal donors that are already affiliated with their organizations. When considering the higher cost associated with reaching out to new contributors, as well as the statistic that 60% of donors only contribute to an organization one time, this newer donor strategy makes more sense.
Keeping long-term donors interested in your nonprofit’s work, and its need for donations, can sound like a big task. Follow a few of the steps below to keep your donors coming back year after year.
Communicate In The Same Channel
By now you know that communicating with your nonprofit donors is not centered around, ‘the ask’. Often to gain the respect of your donors, and to keep them aware of the impact your nonprofit’s work is making, you need to communicate with them. If the main channel you use to communicate with your donors is constantly flooded with communications asking for contributions, the risk is high that soon your donors will begin to avoid interacting with these correspondences. Sending updates about your nonprofit’s recently completed work, announcing exciting new initiatives and communicating any new research that is central to your cause are all ways to keep your donors involved without spending too much time on the ask.
Allow Them To Connect With Your NPO
Retaining donors isn’t centered around how open their wallets are when you ask for a donation. Offering your donors the opportunity to get involved with your work, through volunteer opportunities, tours of your facilities, and meetings with members of your staff, will bring an entirely new level of involvement to your donors’ affiliation with your organization. Being involved in some aspect of your NPO’s ‘process’ will allow your donors to take a certain amount of ownership in the amazing goals your organization is out to achieve – and this will help them to develop a more profound affinity to your organization.
Let Them Be Heard
It goes without saying that the people most likely to give to – and continue to give to – your nonprofit are those that care deeply about the vision of your organization. Rather than just viewing your nonprofit’s donors as a blank checkbook waiting to be filled out, take the time to ask them how they feel about the work that you’ve done so far. Send surveys and ask questions related to how your organization is run. Though you don’t necessarily have to take all suggestions into account, giving your donors the opportunity to get involved with your nonprofit in this way will give you a basic litmus test to understand how they’re feeling about your organization’s efforts. And who knows, perhaps a donor will suggest a great idea to incorporate into your nonprofit’s efforts!
Keeping your current donors engaged is easier than it sounds. Simply remember to keep your donors thinking about, interested in and engaged with your nonprofit’s work and you’ll be well on your way to holding onto your dedicated donors.