Because organizations have to spend a lot of time and effort to find new major donors, and even in the realm of direct marketing, where expenses (per donor) are lower than in major donor development work, it still costs up to ten times more to reach a new donor than to successfully communicate with an existing one.” -Dr. Adrian Sargeant
You know how important it is to retain donors. But understanding this doesn’t make it easy. Studies show that for every 100 donors an organization gains, 103 are lost. So how do you keep donors interested and engaged? We live in a world where other organizations and media are constantly vying for your donors’ attention.
What’s the key to retaining the donors you’ve worked so hard to get?
After working with hundreds of organizations across the nonprofit sector, there’s one thing that’s universally true when it comes to donor retention: improving donor retention starts by creating a transformational relationship with donors, not just a transactional one.
You must be intentional about creating the best possible experience with your donors and starting the relationship on the right foot. If you’re just trying to get donors in the door at any gift amount and then immediate upgrade them without building a relationship, that’s a bait-and-switch strategy your donors will see right through.
How you interact with donors in the beginning makes a significant impact in their overall lifetime value to your organization. You must be consistent with how you’re going to be following up with them. Start with a transformational approach, not just transactional.