In fundraising, it is important to attract new and big donors, and it’s exciting when we do! However, relying solely on a small pool of new and big donors is unsustainable — it costs time, money and other resources. We need to remember the importance of donor loyalty, regardless of the donation size.
A January 2019 article from CallHub said, “According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project report, only 45.5% of donors make a gift the year after an initial donation. That means nonprofits lose more than half their donors right after their first contribution.” This statistic is an example of the importance of building donor loyalty.
Loyal donors are the people who are going to raise awareness of the organization, spread its message and mission and be advocates for the organization. Put a stewardship plan in place for your donors. This could include many types of “touches.” For example, some donors will have specialized plans while others will be grouped into a plan that you use for other donors. The key is to have a plan, implement it and be sure your donors are at the heart of it.
Invite them to an event, to volunteer or to an opportunity to get “hands-on” with the organization and see their donations in action, allowing them to further their personal connection. The organization needs to make those kinds of friends a priority.
Send them a handwritten note or an email or give them a buzz on the phone. Consider sending them a newsletter, picture from a recent event or some kind of update to keep the donor in the loop and make them feel connected.
Whether it’s a donor who gave yesterday, last month or last year, or a donor who hasn’t given in a couple years, their ongoing support is invaluable. Many donors will give again if they are familiar with or have a connection to the organization. And long-term donors are your best source of planned gifts — usually the largest gifts anyone will ever make. Trust, loyalty and respect can go a long way. Keep the donor relationship active!