According to the recent Giving USA 2015 Annual Report on Philanthropy donors are beginning to support causes they supported prior to the Great Recession.  For the first few years after the recession began most nonprofits saw a precipitous decline in the number of donors and the funds raised. Most alarming, nonprofits saw a steep decline in year over year donor retention for the five years following 2008, to a level where more than 50% of donors, on average, didn’t return the following year.

This one metric alone can be the death knell to any nonprofit. It’s even more of an issue if the nonprofit reduced, or stopped, donor acquisition altogether, which would have exasperated the problem even further.

Is there any good news you might ask?  Yes, the good news according to the study, is that donors are making a come-back and feel more confident then ever to invest in charitable causes they like. The study points out that charitable giving has enjoyed a 7.1% increase over 2013 levels, which to most organizations was the low-water mark.

This is certainly good news. But its important to remember that many donors stopped giving not only because of the poor economy, although this is a significant reason, but also because “of being over solicited”, “overhead costs being too high”, and of a lack of “demonstrated impact”.

These points need to be taken to heart as we move into a recovering economy. Donor acquisition and donor cultivation are never going to be the same. We need to discover new ways to nurture the donor relationships, not over solicit them, and demonstrate our positive impact to the world around us.

As the article points out – nonprofits need to identify their donors’ behaviors, understand who their donors are, and thirdly, consider how to best communicate with their donors.

To learn more on this topic read the full article at Network for Good.