This post was originally published to John Haydon’s blog and is being shared here, with his permission.

For most nonprofits, December is the biggest month of the year for the number of new donors acquired, and the amount of total funds raised.


Kudos to you if you hit your revenue goals and your acquisition goals. After all, attracting new donors is not easy during a time when hundreds of other causes are also asking for their attention and support.

But what now? How can you keep donors interested and engaged throughout the year? And what are the reasons donors leave in the first place?

5 Big Reasons Donors Leave (That You Can Fix)


5 Biggest Reasons Donors Leave (That You Can Fix)

The first step is to understand the reasons donors leave. And then take steps to fix the leaks that might exist in your own donor communication plan.

Here are 5 strategies to prevent donors from leaving (plus the reasons donors leave in the first place):

1. Remind donors that they gave

As time goes on, donors will naturally forget about your nonprofit – unless you stay in touch!

According to Bloomerang 9% of donors leave because they don’t remember giving.

It’s not enough to simply have an auto responder that thanks people every time we make a donation. Each donor at each level of giving should receiveregular communication reminding them of the great work you’re doing, and how they played a central role.

Start with getting more from your email newsletter.

2. Tell donors they matter

Donors wants to know that their support makes a difference. That makes sense, doesn’t it? According to Bloomerang 5% of donors leave because they think the nonprofit doesn’t need them.

One way to tell donors that they matter is to tell them of the great impact they’ve made with their gift.

But timeliness is key. Don’t wait a week and send a letter. Instead, immediately send an email that tell reinforces the impact they just made!

3. Tell donors how their money is used

According to Bloomerang 8% of donors leave because the nonprofit didn’t share how money will be used.

Donors want to know how their money is used. They may not be looking for a detailed balance sheet, just how their money funds the impact they seek.

Regularly publish project updates and outcome stories on your blog, and in your email newsletter. Share pictures of gardens being dug, homes being built, kids smiling proudly about their achievements.

4. Say thank you

Thank you expresses what it means to be human, what it means to be interconnected with others, what it means to have gratitude.

Yet according to Bloomerang 13% of donors leave because the nonprofit didn’t say thanks.

Saying thanks isn’t about finding the cheapest way to say it. It’s about saying it in a way that donors notice – and remember.

5. Provide excellent customer service

According to Bloomerang 18% of donors leave due to poor service or communication. Solid donor retention is essentially smart customer service. Responding to – and even anticipating – donor needs directly impacts retention rates.

How can you be better at dazzling your donors?

Want to learn more from John? 

John Haydon on Email Marketing for Nonprofits

John Haydon