You do all the hard work to bring in new donors when you have a fundraising campaign, but what happens next? Mightycause has the scoop on keeping your donor engagement and retention. These steps will keep your donors invested in your cause, and keep them coming back to donate time after time.

According to M+R Benchmarks, in 2022 overall retention for nonprofit donors was 29%. 29% of nonprofit donors who made a one-time gift in 2021 made another one-time gift in 2022. This means that less than half of nonprofit donors returned to give again. Aside from losing valuable resources and supporters, this means more time, energy and resources will need to go toward acquiring new donors to replace them.

It costs more to acquire a new donor than it does to retain an existing donor. Instead of putting your energy into replacing donors that you may lose, invest the time and energy into building up your donor engagement and stewardship efforts to increase donor retention. Not sure where to start?

We’ve outlined some tips that you can start taking action on today to improve donor retention:

1. Genuinely Engage with Supporters

Create a culture where staff is truly encouraged to get to know your donors, and create meaningful relationships with supporters. This may seem obvious, but the right mindset and organizational culture around donor engagement is a cornerstone of higher donor retention and assists with all of the remaining strategies.

2. Say “Thank You”

thank you note to donors

You can never say thank you enough to your supporters. Be sure to say it early, often and personally. After a donation, it’s key to say thank you promptly, while the donor is still thinking about the gift they have made, but don’t be afraid to say thank you multiple times in different ways. Share the impact of their gift in the short and long term. Finally, be personal whenever and wherever you can. Recognize how they made their gift, if there was any dedication or designation to consider, and include personal touches whenever possible to convey meaningful appreciation.

3. Get the Second Gift

It may seem silly to think about their second gift right as they are making their first gift, but studies show that the sooner you receive the second gift, the more likely you are to retain a donor long-term. Be thoughtful about how to appropriately ask for a second gift in the short term, but don’t be afraid to create opportunities to ask.

4. Segment Your Communications

Whenever possible, speak to your supporters in a way that recognizes their personal connection and history with your organization. If they gave to a specific program or fund, share information with them about their interests. If they’ve given previously, recognize their support when you follow up.

5. Communicate Effectively

Take time to assess your message and how it’s being received by your audience. If your message isn’t working and donors aren’t responding, don’t be afraid to change your approach.

6. Create Conversation

One of the best ways to understand if your message is resonating is to talk to your donors and listen to what they have to say. Create opportunities to hear from your donors, ask for feedback, conduct surveys, and use social media to hear what your supporters think.

7. Share Opportunities to Engage

There are several meaningful ways for donors to be involved with your organization, aside from just making a financial gift. Invite donors to attend events, share volunteer opportunities, and see your work in action. Re-engage without asking for a gift to further build your relationship.

8. Create a Welcome Series

First-time donors are critically important to your organizations, and typically organizations have a lower retention rate with these first-time donors. Use the strategies outlined in this article and build out an intentional and planned series of interactions and activities to bring first-time donors along a journey to further engage with your organization.

9. Analyze your Data

Measure your donor retention rates year-over-year, but also look at retention within specific channels and segments of supporters. The more that you understand about your retention rates, the smarter you can keep about improving these rates and your overall fundraising success. Need help? Check out our guide to data-driven fundraising.

10. Respond to your Data

Once you understand your retention rates, take action based on what you are seeing. If you notice a specific channel (i.e. direct mail) has a lower retention rate than online giving, consider how you can supplement your typical communications strategy to increase engagement with donors that give this way.

11. Utilize Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

A great step in the donor engagement cycle is to turn a donor into a fundraiser. Engage close supporters to become peer-to-peer fundraisers to deepen their connection to your cause. With an Event and Team Fundraising campaign on Mightycause, pre-built templates make it easy for supporters to get their fundraiser up and running with just a few clicks!

Now that you’ve got tons of ideas to build into your fundraising strategy, make sure you use all the tools at your disposal to do this efficiently and effectively. The Mightycause platform is built to help make fundraising easier and more powerful for nonprofits, and we’ve built features into the platform that are specifically designed to help you retain more donors!

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