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March 16, 2017

Why Donors Lapse, and 6 Ways to Increase Donor Retention

Why do donors stop giving?

According to one survey, 5 percent of donors lapsed because they thought the charity didn’t need them; 8 percent received no information on how the money was used; 13 percent were never thanked; and 9 percent didn’t remember ever giving. What do these reasons for lapsing have in common? They’re the direct result of weak donor communication — and that can easily be fixed.

Here are six ways to increase donor retention:

  1. Acknowledge gifts.
    Donors who receive timely, relevant thank-yous usually continue giving. Thank your donors with as much emotion and focus as you used in the appeal.
  2. Show outcomes.
    If donors feel they’re just throwing money at a problem, they’ll leave. Report back with results, especially in newsletters, but also with social media and other channels. Show donors they make a difference.
  3. Build trust.
    It’s vital to prove that you use funds wisely. Be as transparent as you can, not only about financials, but also consider testimonials, endorsements, association memberships, and other credibility-builders in your communications. Demonstrate that your organization is as honorable as your cause.
  4. Share the vision.
    Your donors aren’t interested in your organization. They’re interested in why your organization matters. Donors are aspirational. So, communicate your vision and passion for your cause. Inspire your donors. They’ll gladly follow you.
  5. Keep asking.
    Donors give because it makes them feel good. Don’t go silent. Keep connecting with your supporters.
  6. Go multichannel.
    Donors who interact with your charity through multiple channels tend to give more and remain supporters longer. Meet donors on their terms by giving them a variety of ways to show their support. They’ll be happier, and so will you.

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