5 Things All Nonprofits Should Do

Repeat donors are the lifeblood of your organization, and you want to retain them.

Currently, the average donor retention rate for nonprofits is around 45%.1 Is there a way to increase it? Yes! The key to retaining donors is to keep them engaged with your mission. Whether you are preserving historic buildings or raising money for oceanographic research, the more you keep donors connected with your projects and the people and communities they serve, the more likely they are to continue giving.

Here are five proven ways to keep your donors giving:

Clean up your data. Don’t let donors slip away because they moved or changed email addresses and you lost contact with them. Make every mailing count. Donors are the lifeblood of your mission, so keep those communications frequent, intentional, and relevant. Invest in them, and they will invest in you.

Create a newsletter. Speaking of newsletters, do you have one? Printed newsletters are a great way to keep donors invested in what you are doing. They provide more space to “dive deep” into projects, introduce donors to people behind the scenes, and give voice to the people and communities positively impacted by donors’ generosity.

Send surveys. When you ask donors’ opinions, it makes them feel valued. It also keeps them invested in your mission. Tell them you want to hear from them. “Where would you like to see more resources invested? Please select your top three.” Or ask questions about their perception of your organization. What do you do well? What could be improved? Surveys are the gift that keeps on giving.

Invest in a recurring giving program. Do your donors have the option to make an automatic recurring gift? If not, this is something you should look into. Research shows that recurring donors are retained at a level of 90%.

Follow up. Donors want to know that their giving is appreciated and that it makes a difference. When people give online, for example, do more than send an automated “thank you.” Send donors a follow-up direct mail piece with images of their donation dollars at work. Put them on your newsletter list to keep them engaged with the progress of your mission.