6 ways to keep donors on board

Getting donors is hard.

Keeping donors is almost as hard — and it’s the name of the game. Repeat donors are who really fund your organization, and the longer they keep giving, the better it gets.

That’s why you should put a lot of your time and energy on donor retention. Here’s a helpful post from Keela, at 6 Essential Strategies to Improve Donor Retention:

  1. Personalize their experience. Call them by their name. Talk to them about what they care about. Connect on the basis of what you know about them.
  2. Organize activities. How can donors interact with you other than passively watching or reading about you? Create events — especially online ones. Offer tours if that is possible. Show them other ways of getting involved, like advocating, volunteering, fundraising for you. Not all donors want that, but your superfans might. And just inviting people increases the sense of connection.
  3. Showcase your impact. That is, show them how their involvement makes good things happen. This is the critical ingredient for keeping donors!
  4. Always follow up. Keep connecting. If they give once, give them quick and relevant ways to give again. Make sure they don’t forget how it feels to donate. Thank them and report back on the power of their gifts. (Going silent on donors because you think their recent donation has “tapped them out” is the most destructive thing you can do to an ongoing relationship.)
  5. Ask for feedback. Donors are not your bank account. They are human beings, and that means there should be two-way communications. Ask them questions. Be available online and by phone. Send them surveys.
  6. Thank the donors. Whenever a donor gives, thank them quickly and with heart. Send them thanks by mail. Call them. Send email. Make sure they can’t miss that you appreciate what they did. Thank them at other times too. It really matters.


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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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