4 Marketing Tips to Improve Donor Retention Rates
Donor retention should be a prime point of focus for nonprofit organizations, but it’s often one of the most difficult metrics to maintain. This is because, while nonprofits put a lot of time and thought into acquiring new donors, they seem to often lose interest just as quickly as they gain it. These marketing tips can help your organization tackle the hurdles that stand in your way of engaged recurring donors.
#1 Communicate The Right Way
Prompt communication is the first tip you should take to heart when trying to improve donor retention. Timing is very important, with an immediate “Thank you” being only the beginning. An effective follow-up schedule that helps donors feel acknowledged and engaged is a must. Of course, it’s not just when you send your messages, it’s where you send them–or rather, how. Using the right channels is important, and the right way to communicate with one donor may not be the right way for another.
After identifying the best channels to communicate through and coming up with a calendar of interactions to keep donors interested, the final piece of the puzzle is carefully considering your phrasing. Aside from being on-brand, your messaging should be friendly, specific, and highly personalized.
#2 Go Above and Beyond with Acknowledgment
In addition to personal outreach, you should also be investing time (and money) into properly thanking your donors and on a regular basis. Saying “thank you” is a good start, but there are many other creative and meaningful ways you can acknowledge those who give. Social media shout-outs are a good start, but what about a donor appreciation party and other special events? They can give off a sense of exclusivity and make donors feel like an integral part of your organization.
While you will need to invest in these forms of acknowledgement, it will show excellent return on investment if you go about things correctly. Emphasizing a “membership” or “club” like status for recurring donors will certainly boost retention rates and overall engagement. This will help turn regular gifters into serious advocates for your organization.
#3 Use All The Tools At Your Disposal
Your CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, system is among the most valuable asset in your virtual toolkit. It’s platforms like this one that will give you all the metrics you need right at your fingertips, helping you to personalize and stay on top of outreach. The right systems will even enable you to automate much of your outreach without it feeling distant. In order to do that, though, you must collect and input as much donor information as possible.
CRMs will also help you compile reports to better understand the patterns of different donors and even identify donors who may be in a position to give more often or, conversely, be in a position where they feel disengaged and may be close to ending their donations to your organization.
#4 Treat Donors Like People
At the end of the day, you can throw all of the appreciation parties you can muster. You can give a daily shoutout on social media. You can even automate highly personalized virtual outreach campaigns. Even with all this, it sometimes still won’t be enough. That’s because, at its core, your donor retention plan must focus on one key idea: treating your donors like people. Nothing beats a direct, one-on-one phone call every once in a while or, better yet, an in-person meeting where you have a meaningful conversation with the people who give to your organization.
In-person and one-on-one interactions obviously take a lot of time. No one can deny, though, that they are truly the best ways to keep donors engaged. And engagement will ensure they realize the importance of continued gifting. So, fit this interaction into your calendar and you’ll soon see the results.
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