Here’s why keeping your donors is better than getting new ones

The donor you already have is far more valuable the donor you hope to acquire. Here’s why, from the Bloomerang blog, at 3 Reasons Why Donor Retention Trumps New Donor Acquisition:

  1. Most Major Gifts are Made after 5 Years of Giving. That’s right — the large majority of major donors spend the first part of their relationship with you as general donors. If you if you aren’t getting new donors, you aren’t getting major donors.
  2. Lifetime Value Rules Over All. The longer the donor stays with you the higher their value.
  3. Higher Costs to Acquire Donors Versus Retaining Them. Donor acquisition is an expensive, usually net-negative activity. Donors who have been with you a year or more, generate all of your net revenue.

Keep the donors you have! It’s the smartest way to raise the most funds.

(But please don’t take this to mean you shouldn’t be getting new donors! That’s necessary to a sustainable program. It’s just the expensive and difficult part that you’ll need to do less of if you’re retaining donors.)


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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