Holding Onto Donors 101


The general rule of thumb in the non-profit sector is pretty simple to remember. Retaining faithful donors is much more time and cost effective than searching for new faces to get involved with your organization. Rather than filtering part of your already over-stretched budget into finding new faces to give, wouldn’t it be great if that money could be used toward the end goal instead?

Though holding onto regular donors is a great goal to have, the trick, of course, is finding ways to keep these individuals interested in giving. Staying in contact with your donors is simple way to keep their gifts alive in their minds and only takes a little time. Use a few of the following conversation tips to keep the dialogue between your nonprofit and your donors dynamic and informative.

Say ‘Thank You’

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: saying, ‘Thank You,’ to your donors is hands down one of the easiest and most effective ways to show your contributors how much you appreciate them. Providing adequate recognition for the gifts you receive will not only acknowledge the individual effort that they put in, it will also let them know that they did have an impact upon your organization’s work. Further, sending a quick note of thanks provides a great opportunity to stay in touch with the people who are likely to become recurring givers.

Acknowledge Their Gifts

A personalized note thanking your donors by name and possibly mentioning the gift they gave will have a greater impact than a generic email. Show your donors what a conscientious organization you are by including these two details in your correspondence and you’ll be one step closer to winning a recurring donor. Though this may sound like quite a bit of effort, (especially when considering the number of donors that your organization may have,) implementing this system will show your donors that they are not just part of a faceless mass of check writers, but an important piece to the puzzle.

Be Personal

Donors want to talk to people, not corporations. If the language and style used in notes and emails is full of jargon and cold language, your donors will not feel as though they have any place in your organization. Having a personal and inviting tone while you tell your donors how you couldn’t have made a change without them will make them feel needed and appreciated. This feeling of accomplishment and partnership may inspire them to give again in the future.

Always Communicate

Throughout this article we’ve discussed ways to keep the dialogue alive between your nonprofit and your donors, but you can’t forget about those times your donors are trying to reach out to you! If your donors have questions they need addressed or are looking for more information about the work your nonprofit is doing, always take the time to discuss these issues with them. Taking the time out to assuage any misgivings your potential donors may have will let them know they are working with a caring and transparent organization. Building this trust with your donors is key to giving them the confidence to build a long-term relationship with your organization through volunteering and giving.

How does your nonprofit work to keep your donors involved and interested in the work that you’re doing? If you have any ideas that we’ve missed we would love to hear them!