The Keys to Retaining Your Donors
In the course of a recent one-hour webinar, David Chatham with Angel Oak Creative and Jeff Hensley with Armstrong McGuire walked through the COVID fundraising landscape and what it means for nonprofit organizations going forward. Based on the stats, it was quite a year! The number of donors increased by 10% from 2019 to 2020, and donations increased by 7.3%. In the past year, online giving also increased from 8% to 14%! Our communities proved that when the going gets tough, our tough communities get going.
However, in spite of these impressive numbers, there are some challenges nonprofits are facing. We’re calling it the COVID donor conundrum, and it’s centered around donor retention. In the webinar, David and Jeff sought to answer the question: How can nonprofits retain the donors that showed up in such great numbers over these last 18 months?
Reactions. Giving in response to a crisis is reactionary, and often a one-time deal. However, reactionary giving may not be sustained giving, and communicating a need with a scarcity mindset is exhausting for the organization and its donors. The goal is to make investors and partners out of these donors by giving them a reason to fall in love with your mission!
Relationships. Moving donors from transactional giving to relational giving is the key to building long-term relationships. If nonprofits retained 10-15% of the donors they acquired in 2020, odds are they would exceed their fundraising goals year after year.
So, how can we get there? Here are four ways to retain your COVID donors!
1. Provide clear, consistent communication. Share your impact and opportunities for your donors with clarity over time. Don’t practice what we call hit-and-run marketing. Don’t just engage with your donors when you need something, but instead cultivate those relationships both in the good times and the hard seasons. Be dedicated to sharing stories of impact and helping them understand how you steward their investment.
2. Say thank you. Ensure that every donor, no matter their giving level, is thanked for their investment. You can never “over thank” your donors! And be sure you’re taking steps to learn as much as you can about them. Are you doing surveys, hosting focus groups, sending polls or asking their opinions and ideas in other ways? If not, you should be. Knowledge is power!
3. Communicate out of abundance, not scarcity. Our experience is that there is more than enough out there for everyone. And the more people give, the bigger your impact can be. So don’t get hung up on “competing” for dollars. Focus on those who care about your mission and bring them along with you on the journey. Abundance is more powerful than scarcity!
4. Initiate targeted communications with your first-time givers. Be sure to spend a little extra time and energy shepherding the donors you acquired during the last 18 months. Send that extra thank-you email, make the extra phone call, grab that cup of coffee with them. The goal? Going from crisis response to cause response. Now that’s powerful.
For more recommendations and best practices for retaining your COVID donors, follow us on LinkedIn and keep an eye out over the next several weeks as we share more highlights from our donor retention webinar! With end-of-year quickly approaching, there’s no better time to start stewarding those relationships. You can also watch out the full webinar on our YouTube channel. Happy cultivating!