How to be a fundraising rock star

Hello, Nonprofit Social Good Cause Do-Gooder Amazing People! I mean, I just want to spread a bit of enthusiasm during this, our busiest time of year. And what better way to further spread this enthusiasm than with a video?

To spell it out for you, most likely you've just come off a successful #GivingTuesday, and here you are, in December, faced with having to have your act together for year end: writing and queuing up emails, making sure your website content is updated, executing on your well-planned social media calendar.

You not only hope to raise more money than last year, but also get those new donors. That's why I want to plant the seed to make sure you are thinking about DONOR RETENTION.

I've shouted that IN ALL CAPS because our sector as a whole pays so little attention to keeping the donors we work so hard to get. While it's common sense that it would be less expensive to keep an existing donor than to find a new one, it's not as sexy or as easy to measure as donor acquisition.

But here's a tip for all you fundraisers. Want to be a fundraising rock star? All you have to do is to start systematically increasing your donor retention. This isn't my opinion, this is math.

The average organization loses about 50% of its donors every year. That's INSANE! And even if your retention is a bit above the average, you should consider for a second how the for-profit world defines good retention numbers. If Verizon or T-Mobile or Netflix lost 50% of their subscribers every year, the executives would collectively jump out the window after their stocks went down to zero.

The math part of this is that increasing donor retention becomes cumulative. Someone who makes a second gift is much more likely to make a third and a fourth -- so their lifetime value goes way up. And if you continue to get those new donors while increasing the number of donors you keep year after year, the result is EXPONENTIAL.  

So, my nonprofit do-gooder fundraising friends, as you work on your year-end magic, you should also be planning the program that keeps these donors coming back with the magic second gift.

Next week, we'll dive deeper into simple ways to start making that happen.

Author: Michael Hoffman
  • nonprofit
  • nonprofit fundraising
  • Fundraising
  • Donors
  • Donations
  • donor retention
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