Donor Retention

Retention, loyalty or an active donor…whatever terminology is used to keep a donor engaged and supporting your cause year after year there is no question it is a key driver of the long term success of any organization. Whatever metrics are used internally (ROI, CTA, CPD) there is no debate that the cost to find and enroll a new donor will be many times that of retaining a current one. There is generally an understanding that this is the case in all different types of not for profit organizations yet they still continue to invest far more resources into new donor acquisition than they do to building deeper, stronger ties with their existing base. As Marketers it is far more exciting to seek out and find those new donors, you have to draft a strategy, develop the right language and create compelling new creative designs that speak to your target audience and generate a response to support your organization. That is what we are wired to do.

However, it would seem to make sense that an organization invest at least the same amount of resources on donor retention as acquisition…the goal being to increase the attachment of these active supporters. Gilmore has worked with many partners to build these type of campaigns and it generally follows one of two paths.

New donor engagement, whether creating a new program or working to improve an existing one we have worked collaboratively with dozens of NFP partners to lay out a year one touch point schedule for those that are new to giving to the organization. These are often multi-tiered, cross media communication plans triggered by the donor level and type of giving. (Annual, monthly, corporate to name a few)

Inactive donors, these previous supporters whether it be recent or a longer period of time since they last donated, are often the easiest to overlook…hoping they will return and support again someday soon. This audience may be the best opportunity to discover what direction the organization may need to steer for continued success. Engaging this group and discovering the reason they became dormant in the first place and empowering them to feel they can have a voice in the future may also solidify them as part of that future. Gilmore can help gather this information or we can simply collaborate to deliver on what has already been discovered.

The last line of defense against attrition is the tax receipt for charitable donations providing donors with a deduction come tax time. If instead of simply treating this communication as a financial transaction we can turn this into information delivery relevant to the individual donor we can impact their future donation decision at the same time. Imagine if the tax receipt could be a blank canvas that uses donor data to drive print on demand calls to action on how the organization is impacting positive change thanks to their important donation. That is what can collaborate with you to help build.

Thank you
Scott Cherkewich, Director of Marketing, Gilmore Doculink.