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When you think about popular brands like Southwest, Nordstrom, and Amazon, there’s one thing they all have in common — they’re all incredible developing life-long customers by building relationships. Successful brands know the importance of managing customer expectations throughout the purchasing process and they go to great lengths to not only meet expectations, but exceed them. They realize that retaining customers is just as important as acquiring new ones.

What can these brands teach nonprofits about donor retention?

There are some valuable lessons that we can learn from brands like these when it comes to stewarding donors and extending the lifetime value of those that support our organization:

  • Plan the lifecycle of your donors and optimize your retention strategy. The brands that are most effective at building relationships with customers know how to exceed expectations at each step of the buying process. The only way we can earn the trust of our donors is to effectively manage their expectations at each step of the giving process. This means mapping the donor experience and connecting the appropriate retention strategy
  • Segment your donors and engage them differently. Starbucks rewards their most valuable customers with a Gold Card. The way they engage their most loyal customers is different than the way they engage a new donor. However, both levels of engagement are intended to build upon the relationship. As you steward donors, think about the various stages of the “buying process” and how you can engage donors in that stage with the most effective call-to-action.
  • Channel the passion of your new donors to move them toward deeper engagement. Why do so many iPhone owners become raving Apple fans? Because Apple has figured out a way to channel the initial experience and passion. Donors bring passion to the causes they support. However, enthusiasm fades fairly quickly when it isn’t managed. But managing the donor lifecycle keeps the focus on the complete donor experience.
 Want to improve your donor stewardship strategy to increase revenue?

You won’t want to miss our next Pursuant Webinar! In “What Every Fundraiser Can Do to Stop Falling Retention” we’re sitting down with Jay Love, Co-Founder of Bloomerang to dive into the impact donor retention can have on your revenue. During the webinar, we’ll also unpack some best practices that any nonprofit can use to build life-long relationships with donors and increase their fundraising results.

What are some things you’ve learned from your favorite brands when it comes to engaging donors?