Making Lasting Connections: 4 Donor Retention Strategies

By susanlienau | May 29, 2019 | Philanthropy Operations

For nonprofits, making lasting connections with donors is something that is constantly a goal. Donor retention may have its challenges, but it’s an objective every organization should have.

Whether this means reaching out to supporters on a regular basis, keeping them updated, or ensuring their experience with your nonprofit is a positive one, there are many ways to focus on retaining donors and even reaching out to new ones.

In this article, we’ll discuss the following ways you can make long-term connections with your donors. You’ll learn how you can:

  1. 1. Optimize your gift instrument.
  2. 2. Incorporate peer-to-peer fundraising.
  3. 3. Get donors involved.
  4. 4. Share your success.

Getting long-term support from individuals is a time-consuming task that can’t be overlooked, but if you take the right approach, you can effectively establish your connection with them.

Are you ready to take a closer look at these strategies to retain donors? Let’s get started!

Optimizing your gift instrument is an effective strategy for donor retention.

1. Optimize your gift instrument.

Part of making a lasting connection means making a good first impression. How do you do that? The most surefire way is by optimizing your gift instrument or form.

If your supporters have a good first-time experience using your giving instrument and go without any sense of confusion or inconvenience, they’ll be more likely to support your nonprofit later on, too.

Consider the following ways to optimize your form:

  • Make your form mobile-friendly. Mobile optimization is one of the top tips for websites that will keep donors coming back. If your form is accessible and easily viewed on a mobile device, more supporters will be able to donate when it’s convenient for them. This means more in donation revenue because supporters won’t have to wait until they get to a desktop computer to donate (which can also cause them to forget!).
  • Don’t ask for too many details. One of the biggest causes of giving form abandonment is overly complicated processes and too many fields to fill out. If you ask for too much extra information, especially information that doesn’t seem necessary, you’ll likely lose a lot of donors. Ask for only what you need. Using a customizable form will make this easy.
  • Offer multiple channels for giving. Offer a variety of secure payment types so your donors can easily contribute and their information will remain protected.
  • Embed your form into your website. Embedding your form into your website allows supporters to donate without needing to leave your site and go to a third-party provider, which will instill trust.
  • Accept recurring donations. Recurring donations ensure that a donor can generously support your nonprofit each month, and will help retain their support. With the right fundraising software, you can allow donors to make recurring contributions directly from your online giving form, or even make it the default option.

By optimizing your giving instrument, you’ll leave a lasting impression on your donors and keep them coming back. It’s important to think about their experience because a negative or neutral one won’t reflect well on your nonprofit. Make them remember you.

Looking for other ways to create an impactful giving instrument? Check out this list.

Peer-to-peer fundraising is an effective strategy for retaining donors.

2. Incorporate peer-to-peer fundraising.

Even when your focus is on retaining donors, it’s essential that you think about expanding your outreach. This is because an expanded outreach can lead to more exposure for your nonprofit. That can lead to more supporters down the line to create relationships with.

This is easier said than done, but there’s an effective way to get this process started. That is through peer-to-peer fundraising.

What is peer-to-peer fundraising?

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a social giving method in which individual volunteers fundraise on behalf of a nonprofit organization. It works in this way:

  • The nonprofit determines its fundraising goal and sets up its main campaign page.
  • The nonprofit recruits individual volunteers to set up their own campaign pages.
  • The nonprofit offers resources and coaches the volunteers on how best to optimize their pages and share them.
  • The volunteers share their campaign pages.
  • The nonprofit monitors the progress and offers continued support.

Peer-to-peer fundraising is successful because you’re associating your campaign with familiar faces for donors. In this way, you can reach out further to people you wouldn’t have connected with otherwise.

These new supporters may then become lasting connections as they familiarize themselves more with your cause. Even more, you’ll get your current supporters involved in your fundraising process and make them feel like they can make a difference!

As you receive contributions from these donors, it’s also important to keep your campaign data organized, which means organizing your CRM and measuring overall engagement. We’ll talk more about this in the next section.

Getting donors involved is an effective strategy for donor retention.

3. Get donors involved.

Making a long-term connection means cultivating relationships. It’s important that you do this with your supporters as a nonprofit; it’s a two-way street. This means you should not only solicit donations from supporters but also get them involved in the process. Making a relationship last requires work, after all!

This starts with organizing your donor data. Prospect research is an important step you need to take when first researching potential donors (which DonorSearch outlines in their ultimate guide), as it allows you to segment donors by interests, philanthropic indicators, and more.

Once your donors have contributed to your nonprofit in some way, you can begin forging relationships with them. If you know their interests, this will be much easier to do.

Consider the following when getting your donors more involved with your nonprofit:

  • Invite them to volunteer. Encourage your supporters to volunteer with your nonprofit, based on their interests and skills. For instance, if you’re part of an animal rights organization, look for individuals who have an interest in animal rights and/or have volunteered with similar organizations in the past.
  • Ask for feedback. For those who have already supported or worked with you in the past, solicit their feedback through surveys to see where your nonprofit is excelling and where you have room for improvement. Not only will this help you grow, but it will make your supporters feel valued and important to your cause. Asking for advice or feedback is also one of the most underappreciated opportunities to connect with your supporters.
  • Take to social media. Use social media to regularly update your supporters and encourage interactions. If you have a strong presence on the social media platforms that your supporters are using, you’ll make a greater impression and stay relevant with your audience.

A lot of this comes down to doing your research and then keeping your data clean. If your donor information is adequately segmented, you can pinpoint people’s interests and successfully engage them based on that. If you have updated contact information, you can reach out to them with surveys for feedback. This is all essential to maintaining long-term relationships.

Sharing success stories is an effective strategy for donor retention.

4. Share your success.

When you’re part of a nonprofit making headway in your mission, that’s something worth sharing! Part of maintaining lasting connections means giving your supporters a compelling reason to stick around.

There are several ways you can do this:

  • Keep your donors updated. First and foremost, you should keep your donors updated on the progress of your mission and your fundraisers. Whether this means sharing on social media or reaching out directly to supporters, it’s important to share your progress so they know you’re continuously working toward the greater good.
  • Tap into emotions. When sharing your progress, you should focus on your success stories. Humans gravitate toward stories, and tapping into their emotions is a great way to compel them to stay involved. Tell stories of real people you’ve helped, citing specific examples and explaining why it’s so important for supporters to continue their support. Remember, your successes were made possible by your donors.
  • Continue soliciting gifts. Remind your supporters of their opportunities to give. Whether this is through a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign or promoting your giving instrument on your website through a call-to-action, continue to ask for support and share updates as often as you can.

Asking for donations can, of course, seem daunting, so it’s important to give individuals a good reason to donate and continue their involvement with your organization. Still unsure? Check out Double the Donation’s tips for asking for donations.

By keeping your supporters informed, you’ll pave the way for a great relationship that lasts. Focus on storytelling and give a compelling reason to continue donating. Do this, and you’ll set your nonprofit up for future success!

There are clearly many ways to keep up your relationships with your supporters, so it’s important to focus in on the ones that will be most impactful for your organization. By starting with a great experience on your website, then exploring social giving and keeping donors involved and updated, you can achieve connections that might not have been possible otherwise.

Take a close look at your nonprofit’s donor retention strategy today and see where you can improve your process!

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