October 9, 2013

Should your nonprofit focus on donor retention or acquisition?

Donor-Retention-or-Acquisition-Which-One-Should-You-Focus-On

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists, general public.

Guest post by Annie Lynsen
SmallAct

AnnieLynsenIcame across an article on Lifehacker about applying the 80/20 rule to networking.

The general premise is that you should spend 20 percent of your time cultivating new contacts and 80 percent of your time strengthening the relationships you already have.

Which metrics do you value?

Many of our metrics seem to weigh heavily on the side of acquiring new donors, new names for the list, new event attendees. As a result, I feel like there’s often not enough appreciation, and therefore not enough time devoted to, building relationships with those who are already on our lists. (This can vary, depending on the culture of your organization, of course.) Continue reading

March 25, 2013

Why nonprofits have low retention rates (and how to fix it)

Why donor retention should be a priority

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, marketers, Web publishers.

John HaydonDid you know that nonprofits as a whole have a donor retention rate of 49 percent? Retention rate refers to the percentage of donors who make another gift or have an ongoing relationship with a nonprofit.

That number is astonishingly low compared to business’s customer retention rate of 94 percent.

Why the huge gap? I mean, you’d typically expect that people who support issues like gay rights and global warming would be repeat donors. But nonprofits rarely make donor retention a priority.

To help shed some light on this, I called Marc Pitman, an expert on fundraising. “Instead of talking about annual donors, we should think about nonprofits’ relationships with donors,” he said.

In this 13-minute video, we talk about:

  • How fundraising jargon and fiscal calendar thinking has hurt retention rates
  • Why making a second ask in 90 days can increase retention
  • How setting expectations creates better donor-centric relationships
  • How you can leverage events to boost retention
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February 11, 2013

Nonprofits: Focus on donor retention in 2013

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Takeaways from Blackbaud’s Charitable Giving Report

John HaydonBlackbaud’s just-published 2013 Charitable Giving Report shows that small nonprofits, with annual total fundraising of less than $1 million, grew their fundraising by 7.3 percent compared to 2011.

These small guys blew away the large nonprofits who only grew 0.3 percent!

Five key observations from the 2012 Charitable Giving Report: Continue reading