How to Retain Donors

It is one thing getting the donor or grant dollars the first time around but maintaining these dollars over time is an art form that requires strategy and effort. And it’s imperative that you make sure your donors continue to feel involved and engaged.

As I’m sure you know, it is much more expensive to try to develop new donors than retain existing supporters. So, this week, let’s look and what you can do to maintain and retain donors for the long-term.

  1. Monitor and track existing donors. Try to gather information about their families, their birthdays, anniversaries, and other significant events. Acknowledge these events with a card, gift, or phone call.
  2. Focus on donors and not the dollars. Make sure you are focusing in on what the donors want and need rather than what your organization needs.
  3. Respond quickly to issues or complaints. If a donor has an issue or a question make sure you get back to them within 24 hours and be very direct and honest with them.
  4. Give donors options and choices. Even though you may need money for a specific program or project make sure you listen to what the donor needs and give them options and choices for their donations.
  5. Personalize the relationship. Donors want and need “high touch” contact with your organization so invite them to special events and allow them to tour your facility.
  6. Don’t overwhelm donors with too many mailings. Once a donor makes a contribution make sure you don’t turn around and ask them for another contribution the following month.
  7. Thank donors with personal thank-you cards rather than computer generated letters and phone calls.
  8. Look for repeat donors who have given more than three times. These people are the prime candidates for planned giving and legacy gifts and are good opportunities to trade up to become major donors.
  9. Cultivate more than ASK. For every one time you ask for a gift, there should be at least three contacts with the donor where you are NOT asking for anything from them.
  10. Tell them how you spent their money. If the donor gave you $500 report back to them on the impact you made with their money.

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