When it comes to acquiring new donors, successful nonprofits have the corner on the market. With years of experience in sending direct mail campaigns, running social media ads, and honing donor-centric content to reach their audience, they often produce very effective fundraising appeals. There’s just one major problem.

Despite the expertise in acquiring new donors, some nonprofits encounter difficulty when it comes to retaining these donors. Maya Bur laments on NonProfit PRO: “In the current nonprofit environment, 96 donors are lost for every 100 gained.” Yes, this is real problem nonprofits face, but it also signals a huge opportunity! If we can successfully acquire new donors, and then retain these donors at a high rate, we will be much more successful in the long-term.

So how can you improve your donor retention? Maya makes three points:

1. Be aware of the difference between donor retention and donor loyalty. 

By addressing donor loyalty instead of donor retention, you humanize your donors. Remember, you aren’t just looking for the next monetary gift from your donors: Their ongoing support is valuable. Loyal donors raise awareness. It shows that your organization values its relationship with them and that they’re not just numbers to be retained.

2. Make donor relations a priority.

Understanding your donors’ motivation for giving is key to stepping into their shoes. Most donors give for highly personal reasons. These include being passionate about the cause, knowing someone who has been affected by the cause or even a feeling that the organization is depending on their support. Getting a sense of why your donors choose to give to your organization means you can cater toward those values to keep them coming back year after year. 

It’s also another step toward personalizing the donor experience. If you know a donor consistently gives to one of your five programs, you can target them with updates about that specific program to keep them engaged.

3. Cultivate donors from the right venues.

One way to generate new donors who are likely to become long-term, loyal donors is to narrow your search. You don’t always need your content to travel far to have an impact. Your newest loyal donors might be closer than you think.

Those attending an event for your organization are more likely to become long-term donors than those who have never interacted with your organization. It’s even more likely for volunteers. Volunteers have donated their valuable time to your organization, so they likely want to continue to see it grow and succeed.

Looking for other ways to make your nonprofit a success? Take a look at a few of our other posts on fundraising for nonprofits!