Retaining Donors

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot.

                                                                                               Alexander Pope

That class in 18th Century British literature comes in handy every now and then. Alexander Pope—my man!

This famous quote from Pope comes to mind as I repeat a statistic I heard in a client meeting recently. This is where the little knowledge comes into play, because I did not check this out like I should have. But anyway, this is what I heard.

A recently retired CEO of a successful non-profit said that large corporations shoot for 90% retention of customers while non-profits only average keeping donors at a 45% clip.

At first glance, this just does not seem right. The non-profits I have worked with certainly have done better than this. Only 45%? Really?

But even if the number is dragged down by stats from mismanaged non-profits and mom and pop groups that crop up one year and disappear the next, that number is still alarming.

And now that I think about it, I did hear a telling statement last week in a Feasibility Study. The interviewee said, “Our organization does not do enough to thank donors. A single email thank-you is not enough.”

Goodness knows it is hard to find new donors. The competition for charity dollars is tremendous and donor fatigue is real. Most organizations, including the one I just mentioned, need to expand their donor base significantly.

Just remember. It is easier to keep an existing donor than it is to find a new one. Do not take your donors for granted.

What are you doing to keep your donors?