Non Profit Marketing: Putting the Spotlight on Donor Retention

non profit marketing and donor retentionYour mid-year fundraising campaign was a mind-blowing success! Congrats! Now it’s time to kick back and a relax because you’re finished fundraising until it’s time for the Christmas campaign, right? Right?

Like most other non profits, you have events,  programs and even some other fundraising opportunities (maybe even a big capital campaign) happening in the next six months. Which means you really don’t have time to scrape up more donors. However, many non profits are doing just that, ignoring their recent donors and starting from scratch with every campaign.

Most U.S. non profits boast of a donor retention rate of just 27%. Which means almost three-quarters of the people who just gave to your campaign will never give again. You can do something to plug the attrition drain in your fundraising campaigns.

Start by saying Thank You

Whether your donors gave online or offline, you sent them a receipt with the tax-exempt information of your organization attached. Don’t stop there. Ask your board members, volunteers, staff or even the people you serve to write thank you notes to those who give. You can write out a couple of simple messages so all they have to do is copy the words. A handwritten note goes a long way to standing out. Your initial reaction may be to send a gift with your thank-you note, but studies show these gifts may actually lower donations. Instead of sending a gift, send a follow-up email with information about where the donor’s funds were used, including pictures if possible.

Nurture your donors by e-mail

Business surveys show the first e-mail sent after a customer interacts with a company online has a higher open and click-through rate. The same holds true for non-profit marketing e-mails. Don’t waste this opportunity. Send your new donors an on-boarding e-mail with information on who to contact with questions, where to find information on where funds are spent, how to navigate your non profit websites, and when you’ll be hosting events. Start with e-mails every 5-7 days for the first 3-4 weeks and gradually increase the time between e-mails until they are moved into your monthly newsletter cycle. The increase in contact from your organization in the first few days will secure your place in their memory while your monthly e-newsletters will be a constant reminder of the gift they gave.

Segment your donors

Your donors likely fall into several different categories. Some have given multiple times, others are first time donors. Some give because your organization helped a friend or family member, others give because they just love your cause. Some give to one side of your organization, others give to another side. Make all your communication as specific to their reason for giving and their stage of giving as possible. You can do this by sending e-mails that link to videos, blog posts on your non profit website, or picture galleries that relate to specific projects. You can also offer virtual “buttons” with an embed code they can use to display the graphic on social media sites or their website to promote that they give to your organization.

Delight them with your content

Delight is a pretty word, but the power of that pretty word is underestimated. Videos, slide shows, picture galleries, graphics, e-books and blog posts all make your work tangible to your donors. A professional image increases their confidence that they are giving to a professional organization who can manage their funds well. Offer more information on topics of interest to your customers, even if it’s not directly related to your non profit. A non profit theater might offer a video tutorial on applying stage make up or designing sets. It’s not directly related to selling tickets or recruiting donors, but it shows your organization is engaged beyond simply asking for money.

Engaged donors are more likely to give again and again. Since you don’t have to spend big dollars to draw in these donors a second time (you already have their contact information and their attention) your increase in donations comes with a lower price tag.

millennials and non profit engagement report

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