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10 Actions to Take This Summer to Increase Donor Retention

The time you spend NOW to see, hear, and connect with your current donors during the summer months are, I believe, the key to increasing donor retention in advance of your fall events and annual appeals.
With vacations and long weekends upon us, take this as your reminder to schedule some “donor retention” activities for the summer. The fact is, when donors have a high level of trust about what you DO with THEIR financial support, they are much more likely to give again and again.

Here’s my checklist of 10 low-cost or free actions you can take this summer to cause your supporters to feel connected and ready to make a contribution the next time you ask.

1. Monthly Segmented Enews: include client story, quote, testimonial, or video to first-time, long-time, or lapsed donors.

2. Hold a special Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or some other social media “Thank a Donor” day, week, or month.

3. Place a short update video about a specific program or campaign on your homepage or donation page of your website.

4. Send a text with a thank you and a quick program or funding update.

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Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

5. Fun, unique hand-written thank you notes: Drawing from an artist; note from a child, vet, senior; use unique paper or cards.

6. Hold one-on-one meetings with different categories of supporters to introduce yourself or something new about your organization: Older donors who stay in town, corporate donors, foundation program staff.

7. Announce and share widely the celebration of fun milestones: 75th monthly donor, 5000th active donor, 1000 clients served, your community has made contributions totaling 50% of your fundraising goal for the year. Just be sure these are always announced in a way that have your donors feel great about their gifts to you.

8. Hold a phone call Thank-A-Thon with board & staff: Provide a short script and make as many calls to recent donors as possible.

9. Make thank you calls for 5 minutes at a board meeting to thank summer event donors.

10. Use “business as usual” events and invite long-time or major gift supporters. i.e. graduation, picnic, special gatherings of clients or their families…something you do regularly. Not a “new” event. Invite them to spend 10-15 minutes with you and a board member learning about a specific program supported by your annual fund campaign. Have them “see” their gifts in action. Remember: The donor doesn’t have to attend the event to feel connected. It’s invite call, email or note in the mail that is of value too.

Those are a few of my ideas. I’d love to hear what you have planned to retain donors & keep your them engaged this summer! Leave your plans in the comments.


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