Show the Love

Donor retention, also known as donor love, has been hogging the nonprofit spotlight lately. Why? Because outside of the work your organization does to make the world better, retaining donors is the most important thing you can do to ensure your impact is felt for generations.

Whether you rely on a handful of major donors, a massive group of small-dollar donors (or a blend of the two) every single one matters. But keeping this lifeline engaged can be tough work.

Think about retention as an old fashioned “courting.” When a donor chooses to support you, it’s significant, whether it’s a $10 gift or a $1,000 gift. Out of all the clutter vying for their attention, they chose YOU. Now it’s your turn to do everything you can to make them feel appreciated, informed, excited and—yes—loved. Here are some courtship tips:

  • Call to thank them for their very first gift
  • Send them a heartfelt, handwritten thank-you note
  • Gift them with a Welcome Kit
  • Quiz them on how they want to communicate in this courtship and then actually fulfill their communication wish
  • Ask questions about their feelings for you via a phone call, letter or email
  • Provide reasons to love you even more through stories and videos
  • Invite them over to your place for a date—by giving them a tour
  • Recognize your anniversary every year
  • And then thank them again. And again. And again.

Your donors are fickle so be warned, your courtship never ends. It takes diligence and persistence. You would not be YOU without them—their continued support matters. So put as much focus as you can on ensuring that they feel the love.