A New Focus on Donor Retention
Donations are the lifeblood of charitable organizations, many of which could not survive without the financial support they receive from their constituents. Attracting new donors has always been a challenge for nonprofits, albeit, a worthwhile goal. It’s always exciting to receive first-time financial gifts from individuals and organizations that have never made a contribution before.
The Shift from Acquisition to Retention
Although new acquisition efforts will always be ongoing, a number of charitable groups have instead begun to make donor retention an increased area of focus. Constituents who have already given to a nonprofit represent low-hanging fruit. Organizations know these individuals have a willingness to give and therefore, must be encouraged to do so on a continual basis. In fact, in its “2015 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report,” Nonprofit Marketing Guide found that 53% of the nonprofits polled stated that donor retention was the top goal inside of charitable organizations this year. This represents an increase of 23% over figures recorded in 2014.
Keeping existing donors encouraged to give large or small gifts on a consistent basis represents a reliable revenue stream that allows the nonprofit to continuously meet its foundational objectives and simultaneously create strategies to draw in new constituents. Otherwise, without consistency, high turnover in donor rolls will result in nonprofits being saddled with high costs for fundraising.
Growing Donor Retention and Recurring Gifts
Here are a few suggestions that can help you grow donor retention and the consistency of recurring gifts your organization receives.
Nurture the Relationship with Your Existing Donors
Whether you use an autoresponder sent out via email or text, a personalized letters or gift, or even a shout out on social media, saying Thank You is one of the easiest ways to cultivate the relationship with supporters who have donated to your cause. A fun way to do this is to create a Thank You video like the ones recognized by the Nonprofit Marketing Guide in 2014.
Engage with Moving Content Inspiring Donors to Give Again and Again
When making an appeal for recurring gifts from donors who give on a consistent basis, moving stories and images that convey the good work that your organization is doing, the people you are helping and how you are spending your donor’s gifts are especially effective to generate repeat giving and boosting donor retention.
Know Your Donors
Take into consideration how your particular audience is engaging with your organization and how well they are responding to your various marketing efforts. Generational differences may be one factor to consider to ensure that you are focusing on the best method to reach and engage your donors. Some organizations may have a heavy presence and strong community on Facebook, while others may find that their audience prefers to communicate via emails. Without a good understanding of your donor’s preferences, success in retaining your donors will be difficult to achieve.
Make It Easy To Keep On Giving
Create recurring gift campaign with a branded donation page and form to make it easy for donors to commit to repeat giving. Mobile donation pages on smartphones are the most convenient way to set up recurring gifts, which can be done in less than one minute.
Make Mobile Technology Your Best Friend
Regardless of which method of communication you decide is best for your audience, one thing is clear, you will need to connect to most of your donors on their mobile phones. While direct mail and phone calls are still viable options for communicating with your donors, mobile communication is the most effective way to engage and communicate with your donors. It’s easy to see why when you consider there is a 96% mobile phone adoption for U.S. adults and that 99% of all texts are read with 90% of them within 3 minutes.
“The nonprofit sector must continue to evolve and keep pace with behavioral changes we see in society,” Rich Dietz,senior product manager for digital fundraising for Abila Software, told The Nonprofit Times. “Organizations that embrace new ways of thinking, streamline their databases, create visual stories, and adjust their engagement approaches will be successful.”
By Jeremy Koenig, MobileCause Marketing Director