As we near the end of the year, yes, the silly season isn’t that far away. it’s now a good time to be thinking about donor retention, what you’re going to do to keep the hard fought supporters of your organization.
Each year, you, like all organizations are likely to have seen a drop off in donor numbers, even one or two dropping off can have an impact. Just like any commercial (for profit) business the cost of gaining new clients (in your case supporters) is higher than retaining those you already have.
By communicating with, nurturing your current supporters – who already know your story, what you stand for and the work you do, you have a chance to keep them and possibly even see an increase in the contributions they make to your organization.
How can you retain donors? You could look at a few simple, cost effective things such as:
- Thank you calls. Select supporters who give above a certain amount on a regular basis and have the CEO call them to thank them and update them on the work of the organization.
- Thank you cards. Select a group of supporters using what every criteria you feel appropriate and send them a handwritten, personalized card showing appreciation for their ongoing support.
- Invite supporters to an “exclusive” event. Having a group (small) of supporters attend an event can mean a lot to them and have a huge benefit to your organisation.
Don’t leave your communication with supporters to when you want something from them, to only the usual newsletters etc; communicate with them outside of your normal communication time frames. Often supporters see your “usual” communication and shrug it off, knowing it’s an update and a plea for support. However if you ‘surprise’ them you’ll likely gain their attention, and if there’s a call to action you could find they’ll take the action you ask of them.
Recognizing the support you gain is important, simply sending a receipt doesn’t cut it – you need to look at ways to nurture and build supporter loyalty.
What activities has your organization undertaken to show appreciation for your supporters? What’s worked and what hasn’t – share you thoughts and comments below.