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4 Tips For Retaining Donors

You ran a successful supporter acquisition campaign and the new supporters are becoming donors! Now the million-dollar question is: how do you keep these new donors active and giving?


First of all, congratulations! Secondly, don’t panic if there is some drop-off — that’s normal. In fact, according to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project report, the average donor retention across the nonprofit sector was 43.6% in 2020, meaning only 43.6% of donors who gave in 2019 gave again in 2020. For new donors, the retention rate was 19.2%. That’s incredibly low, but with the right tactics, you can ensure your retention rate is much higher!


Send updates

It goes without saying that your donor should receive a thank you, and not just a receipt or a confirmation email, but an actual thank-you communication. That shouldn’t be the last time they hear about the campaign, however. Let your audience, especially the folks who donated to the specific fundraising campaign, know how the initiative is going. This doesn’t just mean sharing information about how much you raised, although that’s a great update if you raised a lot! Tell your audience how the money was spent and what a successful program you were able to implement with their help. Showing people how their money was put to good use is a great way to establish rapport and encourage folks to keep giving.


List segmentation

Not every email needs to go to every supporter in your network, but it's important that donors receive regular communication. Tag your new donors and send emails specifically to them, whether this is an automated email series or including them in other updates. Regardless of how you do it, you want to make sure your organization stays front of mind for donors.


Vary your emails

One way to ensure your donors don’t feel like you only ask them for money is to make sure you vary your content so that you’re not always fundraising from them. Campaign updates, calls to action, and newsletters are just a few examples of types of emails you can send to your audience.


Create a connection

Even if your only interaction with donors is digital, it’s important to establish a meaningful connection. One great way to keep people engaged is through actions. Keep giving your audience things to do, whether it’s signing a petition or attending an event — allowing plenty of options to engage will not only allow folks to feel connected to your organization but will also prevent them from feeling like they are an ATM that you only hit up when you need cash.


It’s time-consuming and expensive to acquire new donors, and much easier to keep them engaged and happy than to continuously find new supporters. If you’re looking to optimize the way you bring in and keep donors, we can help. Use this link to set up a free strategy call with one of our experts.


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