3 Things to Do Now to Improve Donor Retention

14636360261_4f92c5685d_zThe “2015 Fundraising Effectiveness Report” is out…and it’s quite a wake up call. The most startling finding for me was this: while nonprofit organizations reported gains of $3.611 billion in gifts from new, upgraded current, and previously lapsed donors…they lost $3.438 billion through reduced gifts and lapsed donors.

That means for every $100 we’ve worked so hard to gain, we’ve lost $95 from previous donors who just don’t love us enough anymore. This should strike fear into the hearts of all of us who put so much of our hearts and minds into trying to raise funds to change the world. It makes me wonder…are we just spinning our wheels?

Clearly, something (or maybe a lot of things!) has to change. As a fundraising storyteller what I see is an enormous need for our communications to do a better job of making our donors feel connected and loved. To that end, here are three things you can do today to enhance your fundraising success by keeping your donor feeling important and involved.

#1 – Gather your stories. It should be part of every staff person’s job description to collect the stories that tell your donors how they are changing the world through your work. Stories make people feel connected, and a powerful story shows the donor that their investment in your cause is making a difference.

#2 – Get together. Regular monthly meetings where communications, fundraising, marketing, and program staff sits down together can radically transform your messaging. Ask program staff to bring stories to these meetings, and work together to finesse how each department tells the story of your work.

#3 – Develop a case for support. Too often we don’t think about creating a case statement unless we have a major campaign. But isn’t every day a major campaign for your important work? There is nothing more basic or more powerful than having a strong and clear message about why a donor should support your work. And knowing that your entire staff and board can deliver that message is priceless.

How you communicate with your donors is the most important factor in whether they feel important, connected, and necessary to your success. It’s something you can do better today to make a difference in your fundraising tomorrow—and stop feeling like you’re just spinning your wheels.

 

 

 

 

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