How to retain your major donors : 3 strategies to boost loyalty

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How to retain your major donors : 3 strategies to boost loyalty

If you work for a nonprofit, you might have heard too often about the importance of retaining donors. That donor retention is a better strategy in the long haul than trying to acquire new donors per campaign. And that’s right.

Every year nonprofits lose more donors than they gain. This means increase in costs and twice as much hard work to keep finding new donors.

In the light of current events, private donations are becoming essential to the functioning of several charities and churches. In general, 80% of donations come from 20% of donors; therefore, finding, cultivating and retaining major gift donors should be a priority for your organization.

In this article, we will talk about some key donor retention strategies, why it matters and how to calculate it.

But before we begin, let us look at who your major donors are what information you can leverage about them.

If you are a small organization, even a modest donation is quickly noticeable for a fundraising project. If you are a big one, you can view $5000 or $10,000 as a major gift. It is all relative. In addition, even if the donation amounts are small, recurring donations are often more interesting than a larger one-time donation. Think about it.

Your recurring donations reveal the interest and long-term loyalty of your donor to your association.

It is important to have this perspective about your own organization and categorize your donors so that you can communicate effectively with them. To begin right, you want to gather additional information about them. Do this by using reports from your donation management software or analyzing some of your past campaigns.

Questions you want to be looking at are:

  • What were the average donation amounts?
  • How much is the share of recurring donations?
  • Which was the preferred means of payment by donors?
  • What was the median donation (the donation height that separates the lowest 50% of donations from the highest 50% of donations?

By analyzing the information collected, you can easily adjust your next donation campaign by tailoring your messages precisely to your preferred target. Consequently, improving your donor retention.

3 loyalty strategies
Depending upon the size of your organization, choose one of these strategies to boost your donor retention rates

Firstly, retain donors through integration
Your major donors are generally used to the high standard of the services they consume. For them, being valued is common practice. Remember, partnerships and positions of importance are of great value to them.

If you are a large organization, claim it! Go beyond the usual offerings and think about the big picture. Offer them exclusive privileges with your organization. Or, give your donors the opportunity to be put in touch with closed circles. Their network is important. Your donors need to be connected with groups of people who share similar interests.

Their motivation for giving is usually very personal. It could be religious, political or cultural. Make sure you research their profiles well. Therefore, keep your communication honest and simple. If you are lost for ideas, ask them directly what would motivate them.

Secondly, retain donors through gratitude
This strategy is aimed primarily at “traditional” donors who wish to have a direct impact on the cause of your organization. However, the major asset here is public recognition, a real pillar for this group of donors.

Communicate what you achieved thanks to the donations they made your charity.

You can use the following strategies to recognize your major donors.

Organize events in honor of your major donors to thank them for their donations and their commitment to your organization,

Share testimonials from beneficiaries and create a dedicated page on your website to highlight their contributions

Thirdly, and most importantly, cultivate potential major gift donors
Culture is the process that leads to the “request” for a major gift. This is an opportunity to introduce potential donors to your organization and the work you do, and to learn about their specific areas of interest.

Because a good culture includes opportunities for a potential donor to engage with your organization as a leader, invite them to events or give them the opportunity to see your work in action.

Remember that if you are looking for a major gift, then this is time well spent.

Bonus tip!
Make you major donor a priority. Hire a gifts officer or assign a dedicated customer support team to help you do that by –

Handling major donor prospect records.

Preparing brochures, presentations.

Communicating with the board and other supporters to build the prospect base.

Presenting major gift appeals to prospects.

Following up with major donors to continue the relationship.

Seeking upgrade opportunities when appropriate.

Organizing recognition events, and more.

Donor retention is hard but absolutely vital to the health of your nonprofit. At the end of the day, your donor have many choices, use these tips to demonstrate your value to them and show that they are important for you as well. Imagine the impact you can have with a little work with the information you already have. You can multiply the amount of major gifts you receive with the same fundraising effort.

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