CP_TopNonprofits_X Strategies to Retain the Modern Donor_Feature.jpg

Perhaps the most frustrating part of running a nonprofit organization is seeing short term growth in your donor pool disappear from one fundraising campaign to the next. If you want your nonprofit to be successful in the longrun, retaining your donors is a must.

Historically, donor retention has been a difficult endeavor. Without the right tools to manage your donor pool, it’s impossible to adequately strategize retention.

Luckily, it’s never been easier to convert one-time givers into recurring donors. Check out these 3 modern techniques to retain donors and make your nonprofit successful for years to come:

Hold dynamic fundraising events.
Make donation as seamless as possible.
Celebrate donors after the fact.

Ready to learn how to retain and grow your base of recurring donors? Let’s get started!


1. Hold dynamic fundraising events.

As part of a nonprofit, it’s very likely that you’ve helped your organization host on-site fundraising events. Nonprofits have long relied events like these to both collect donations and augment their donor base.

In the past, fundraising events have been logistically challenging, and because they are limited by time constraints, location, and attendance, they might not always yield the best results for your nonprofit.

When courting the modern donor, you need to update your fundraising event strategy for the 21st century. Let’s look at a couple of ways you can increase donor retention by making your fundraising events more dynamic.

Pair your events with online fundraising campaigns.

Fundraising events have always been a go-to way for nonprofits to bring in donations. However, many organizations now rely on online donations to support the bulk of their funding, and as a consequence they neglect their fundraising event strategy.

What works best, though, is pairing on-site fundraising events with online fundraisers. This way, you get the best of both worlds. By fundraising online and hosting on-site events, you achieve two important things:

  • You lengthen your fundraising window. By associating your event with an online fundraising campaign, you give yourself more time to collect donations, and thus more time to convince previous donors to donate again.
  • You give donors multiple points of access. By giving your existing donors the choice to participate in your fundraising event or to support your cause from home, you broaden the pool of donors who will give during your fundraising campaign. This also helps your nonprofit connect with potential donors who are geographically out of range of your event.

Associating your fundraising event with an online fundraising campaign simply makes it more convenient for donors to donate. For modern donors, convenience often makes the difference between one-time donorship and recurring donation.

Invest in comprehensive event fundraising software.

Hosting fundraising events can be complicated, and there’s nothing worse than realizing after the event is over that you haven’t met your donor growth goals. However, event fundraising software can make holding a successful on-site fundraising event both easy and productive.

With event fundraising software, there are a couple of important features that can help you increase donor retention:

  • Promotion and engagement features. Most event fundraising software will help you promote your events via social media and email, as well as assist with donor engagement across multiple platforms. By efficiently keeping donors updated on your next fundraising event, they’re more likely to participate in it and become recurring givers.
  • Event management features. Some event fundraising software options help users manage tasks such as ticketing and seating arrangements, things that directly affect guest experience. The better the time your donors have at events, the more likely they’ll be to donate to your organization again.

Takeaway: On-site fundraising events don’t have to be stuck in the past, and if you make yours more dynamic by incorporating online fundraising and the best features of event fundraising software into your process, you’ll be better equipped to retain donors from event to event.


2. Make donation as seamless as possible.

It might seem obvious to point out, but you can’t retain donors without optimizing your donation process. With many nonprofits, the most they’ve done to modernize the way they collect donations is to offer individuals the option of donating online.

However, your donation optimization cannot begin and end there. With all the tools available to you, there’s nothing stopping your organization from making donating as seamless as possible for your constituents.

Let’s examine two ways to streamline the donation process and more easily transform one-time donors into recurring contributors.

Make the most of your online giving software.

It’s not enough to just have an online payment processing system. If you want to collect donations over the internet, you need to make the most of the features your online giving software offers.

Similar to the way that event fundraising software helps you handle many tasks related to event management, the best online giving software options help you streamline the process surrounding donation collection.

Your online giving software should offer features like:

  • Giving versatility. With online giving software, you can accept donations on a variety of different platforms, like through a giving page on your website, peer-to-peer campaign pages, crowdfunding pages, etc. In addition, some online giving software options help you collect mobile donations, making the giving process more convenient for donors on the go.
  • Streamlined data analysis. Some online giving software solutions assist you with donor data collection throughout the donation process. Within the platform, you can access donor reports and analyze trends in your donor community. Once you better know your donors, you can optimize the donation process with their preferences and habits in mind.

Invest in specialized donation software.

Another way to make the donation process even more direct for your donors is to invest in specialized donation software options. If you only accept donations on one giving platform, you inadvertently exclude donors who prefer to other giving methods.

There are a variety of specialized donation software solutions available on the market today that can better serve the needs of your donor community. Some options include:

  • Mobile giving/text-to-give software. Mobile giving software allows donors to give from the comfort of their mobile device. For some platforms, this enables giving directly through donors’ email addresses, or giving via text. The easier (and more immediate) the giving process, the more likely your donors will choose to give again.
  • Peer-to-peer campaigns. Peer-to-peer campaigns allow individual donors to collect money on behalf of your organization through a personalized donation page. Leveraging the power of their social network, this is a great way to encourage one-time donors to stay involved with your organization as it fosters community involvement in your cause.
  • Auction software. Auction software is designed to manage charity auctions and help process donations collected through the bidding process. If you host an on-site fundraising event and choose to hold an auction, investing in this type of software will help make your night a success.

Takeaway: The more versatile your giving platforms, the more likely it is that donors will give to your cause. If you recognize how important it is to optimize the giving process for your donors, they’ll be more inclined to stay involved with your organization.


3. Celebrate donors after the fact.

If there’s one unifying theme among these strategies so far, it’s that the best way to retain donors is to make the donation process as pleasant as possible. The same idea goes for the post-donation process.

When modernizing your donor retention techniques, do not neglect the donor experience following their donation. If you celebrate your donors after the fact, you’ll ensure that they stay interested in contributing to your organization.

In particular, if your donors feel like your nonprofit doesn’t appreciate their donation, they aren’t likely to continue to give to your organization in the future. For this reason, you absolutely must make sure donors know how important their gifts are to you. You should consider:

  • Thanking diligently. Never forget to thank donors following every gift you receive. This has been common practice among nonprofits in the past, but with increased automation of donor management it’s never been easier: automatic thank-you receipts can be generated by some online giving software, as well as with event fundraising or CRM software.
  • Share your social spotlight. Another way to encourage recurring donorship is to shout out donors on social media. Share impact stories with your constituents highlighting how donations are being used, and let donors feel like their gift was meaningful. The more of your platform you share, the more likely donors will be to give again.

Takeaway: Without your donors, your organization wouldn’t be successful. If you want to increase your recurring donor pool, it’s crucial to make them know how important they are to your cause.

There’s no reason your nonprofit should hold onto outdated donor retention strategies. With a modern approach to donor retention, there’s nothing stopping you from transforming your constituents into reliable recurring donors. Good luck!