When it comes to nonprofit fundraising, it takes more time and money to acquire new donors than it does to keep current donors. That’s why donor retention is so important.
Your organization has probably implemented some strategies to retain donors, but you may be looking for additional ways to improve donor retention and grow your audience.
Here are six suggestions for taking your retention strategies to the next level:
- Offer creative giving options to excite your donors.
- Make your donors’ first giving experience a good one.
- Create a donor membership program.
- Host stewardship events.
- Offer volunteer options that target donors’ interests and skills.
- Follow up to share your appreciation and fundraising results.
Now let’s get started improving your donor retention!
Your current donors aren’t new to the world of donations. They’re expecting donation requests and familiar with the ways to give.
Spice things up by offering multiple giving options to make donations fun and convenient!
For example, eCard Widget is a digital card tool that can supplement your donation page. With digital cards, donors can give to your organization in honor of their loved ones and send them a cute card at the same time!
This is a perfect way to incentivize giving around holidays or special occasions. You can also create themed cards to match a specific campaign or fundraising event.
Also, by sending a card with their donation, donors will spread the word about your organization and its cause. Ecards shouldn’t be the sole way you accept donations, but can be a fun additive to offer your website visitors.
The longer your supporters have been active donations, the more fundraising strategies they’ve witnessed. Think of new ways to get them excited about giving so they’ll enjoy being involved.
Your donors’ experience with the donation process can greatly affect whether or not they decide to give again. If your donation process isn’t an experience donors want to repeat, they’re likely not going to return.
Take the time to optimize your donation page, making it easier for donors to give. Bloomerang’s guide to online donation pages highlights a few ways to improve your donation forms:
- Keep donation forms short and only ask for the essentials to shorten the time it takes for the donor to complete their donation.
- Brand your donation page to match your organization’s branding and embed it into your website so donors feel more comfortable submitting their gifts.
- Don’t require donors to set up an account because it adds one additional step that not all donors want to complete.
- Make your donation form mobile friendly with easy-to-read font sizes and a simple layout to give mobile donors a positive experience.
By streamlining your donation process, more donors are likely to complete the journey, and those that do will be more inclined to donate again.
If your nonprofit doesn’t already have one, a membership or monthly giving program is a fantastic addition to your donor retention plan.
A membership program offers incentives or special perks in exchange for a donor’s charitable contributions. These initiatives boost recurring giving and bring together a group of people who are truly invested in your nonprofit’s mission.
Depending on how you structure your program, you might require donors to give a certain amount, donate a monthly fee, or volunteer a certain number of hours to become members.
To help you think of the right incentives to offer, ask donors what they would like to receive as a member.
Some of your membership incentives could include:
- Exclusive members-only emails and letters.
- Free t-shirts and other items (hats, keychains, bumper stickers, and so on).
- Free parking or early access to events.
A donor membership program is a great way to build a community of like-minded individuals who will support your organization for the long term.
Hosting a donor stewardship event is another way for nonprofits to acknowledge donors for their support. Events bring your nonprofit’s loyal supporters together in one place, letting you thank everyone in person.
In addition, a stewardship event allows your nonprofit to interact with donors in person. These face-to-face conversations will help you to get to know your donors so that you can develop better, more relevant ways to communicate with them later on.
The kind of event you host will depend on your nonprofit’s resources and the donors you’re trying to reach. Here are some ideas for events you can host:
- Plan a lunch event for volunteers where you acknowledge them for their time. An event like this will boost morale and show your appreciation.
- Host a dinner with progress reports for major donors. Major donors can learn about how well projects are going and where their money is going so they can feel confident about giving again in the future.
- Create events for your membership program. Members will appreciate that you’re hosting an event just for them, and the event is another incentive to encourage other donors to join.
Donor stewardship events bring donors together in a casual, lighthearted environment to develop stronger, longer-lasting relationships.
Asking donors to volunteer lets them interact with your organization, see your mission in action, and provide support in a different way.
As volunteers work on projects or at fundraising events, they’ll interact first-hand with staff and other supporters. While volunteering, donors will talk and share interests, building relationships that will further connect them to your nonprofit.
If a donor develops a bond, they’re likely to stick with your nonprofit longer because they’ve gained friends and spent time working as a part of your team.
If you’re already encouraging donors to volunteer, what other ways can you make the experience more unique? Beyond having donors volunteer in traditional roles, focus on offering ways donors can contribute using their skills and interests.
As a new volunteer, it’s easy to feel like a fish out of water. If you put donors in volunteering positions where they can use their strengths, both you and the donor will benefit.
The donor will be confident in their work, and you’ll receive support from someone with the skills to complete the role.
For example, if you know a donor who has a passion for photography, suggest that they volunteer to take photos at one of your fundraising events so you’ll have images to share on social media and in future promotional materials.
Another way you can get creative with volunteer offers is to put donors in roles that require more responsibility or leadership.
For example, if your nonprofit helps students prepare for college with free tutoring services, bring in donors who are college students or recent grads for a panel discussion. They can bring valuable information to the students you serve, and they get to be leaders and mentors who will strengthen their ties to your cause.
Donors want to know that their contributions are making a difference, and nonprofits can only do that by sharing results.
You might send a digital card to each of your donors, recognizing their specific contributions and thanking them for their support.
To make your follow-up even more personal, incorporate storytelling when sharing these results. This will tap into donors’ emotions, giving them a better sense of the outcome.
For example, if your nonprofit helps rebuild homes for families in need, you can tell the story of one of the families you helped—just make sure that you get their permission to share their story before you do so.
Keep in mind that your stories should focus on the accomplishments that were possible due to your donors’ contributions. It’s not about complimenting your organization. It’s about sharing the impact your donors had.
Getting donors to stay invested in your nonprofit is about engaging them creatively and stewarding them over the long term. Make your interactions with donors ones they will enjoy from the very beginning.