In the nonprofit world, donor retention is crucial, since keeping existing donors is always far more cost effective than trying to attain new ones.
There are many reasons a donor stops giving. This chart, provided by IMPACTS Research represents the responses of a 98,000 person sample of previous $250-$2,500 annual donors who didn’t make another gift to the same visitor-serving organization within the past 24 months.
Here are the five reasons donors leave, and how to get them to stay:
1. No Acknowledgement
According to Penelope Burk, author of Donor Centered Fundraising, saying “thank you” is the first step to getting that next gift. Burk has been conducting this research for nearly two decades, and donors have consistently pointed to the things they most want from nonprofits, and it’s three very simple things:
1. Prompt gift acknowledgement
2. Confirmation that gifts have been set to work as intended
3. Measurable results on those gifts at work, before they are asked for more money.
Think of it as a cycle that creates the “perfect donor experience.”
2. Not Asked Again
3. Lack of Communication About Impact of Gift
4. Failed Intent (Forgot)
With busy lives, and so many competing causes, it’s unsurprising that donors often just forget to give again. In order to make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s important to stay top of mind. This means, sending communications and posting updates on social media that remind them of the incredible impact of their donations, and thanking them again and again. Check out: 6 Ways to Thank Your Donors.
The absolute best way to ensure donors don’t forget to give, however, is to get them to enrol in your monthly giving program. When donors are giving monthly, they tend to keep giving. Harvey McKinnon, author of Hidden Gold: How Monthly Giving will Build Donor Loyalty, Boost Your Organization’s Income, and Increase Financial Stability, says:
“It takes proactive action from the donor to stop and it is rare for them to take that action even if the non-profit messes up. So, while donors that require constant renewal rarely make it past 2 years, monthly donors keep giving for 10 years plus. Also, they tend to give more. Donors, for instance, who would give $100 per year will give $20 – $30 per month. All of this translates into huge boosts in revenue for non-profits.”
Go ahead and try out our monthly giving calculator to see how much more you could be raising if your donors were giving monthly and sticking around:
5. Gave to another organization instead
About the Author: Sumac is part of the Silent Partner Software family, a company dedicated to providing exceptional software and services to nonprofits. With over 25 years of service, Silent Partner has helped organizations manage over 3 million donors and contacts across the US, Canada, UK, and Europe. Learn more.