Are you holding on to your donors? Or are they drifting away never to be seen again?
Across the board in the fundraising business, the probability that a donor will make a second gift to an organization is only 50%. To make matters worse, the probability that a donor might make five consecutive gifts is only 10-15%.
Use these strategies to make your donors feel really, really special. Then they’ll say “yes” when you ask for their support again.
1. Create a personal “insider’s briefing” for donors.
- Make them feel special by inviting them for personal briefings.
- Encourage a casual atmosphere and an exchange of questions.
- Have a facilitator who can help bring out questions from the group and encourage interaction.
2. Hold private tours for donors.
- What if you asked every single donor to come over for a personal or group tour of your organization?
- What a wonderful way to thank donors and show them personally the good work you’ve accomplished via their donations.
3. Host a social or series of socials for donors.
- And this does not mean a “donor appreciation event” (who would want to come to that?)
- Instead, hold a porch party or a cook-out for your donors. (that sounds like fun!)
- Be sure you have a fun, not dreary event. Turn it into a party!
4. Send a newsletter just for donors.
- Send something that has lots of pictures and stories.
- It should be plastered with information on the results you are achieving with their investments.
- Its tone should be friendly and informal.
5. Give them special treatment at your events.
- Give donors special seating.
- Give them a special star on their name tag, or special access to something.
- Find a way to have them feel really special at your event. At the least, recognize them.
- Try holding a private reception for your bigger donors immediately before a big event.
6. Create special communications just for donors.
- You could call it the monthly donor update, or “Good News for our Friends.”
- Try a special personalized e-briefing: “your gift at work.”
7. Survey your donors.
Ask them what they think of the communications you send them.
- Ask them what news they’d like to hear from you.
- Ask them their opinion of your newsletter.
- Check out Tom Ahern’s article We don’t care what our donors think of us. He refers to a recent fundraising conference where 150 attendees were asked if they conducted donor satisfaction surveys. Not a hand went up. He then talks about how nonprofits are doing such a poor job holding on to donors.
8. Call your donors to say thank you.
- Thank you phone calls are a sure-fire way to keep donors happy.
Here are the statistics that Penelope Burk found when she tested the impact of board members making thank you phone calls to donors:
Board members called to thank donors within 24 hours of receiving the gift. The next time the donors were solicited, those called gave 39% more than the other donors who did not get called. After 14 months, those called were giving 42% more than the other donors who did not receive phone calls.
9. Invite them to “State of Your Organization” update conference calls.
- Check out how the Atlanta Union Mission communicated with its donors and managed to budget a 10% increase in gifts because of its excellent donor retention.
10. Invite them to participate in an activity.
- I joined the Sierra Club and three weeks later was invited to a potluck dinner of the Triangle chapter.
- Three weeks after that I was invited to the “clean sweep” of our region’s waterways. I was impressed that they moved so quickly to get me involved.
11. Create a special “donors only” web site for them.
Let them make comments on the site and tell their own stories.
- Check out how Care International cut attrition of their face-to-face acquired donors by 50%. They created an online reporting approach back to each donor that spoke to them in a personalized fashion, sharing – in specific terms – what their contributions accomplished.
What have I missed? Please leave a comment and share the way YOUR organization slathers attention on its donors.