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Your 3 Item Checklist to Retain More Donors

By October 22, 2014January 16th, 2018Communication, Data, Donor Engagement

Last week I was honored to have Jay Love, CEO of Bloomerang as our guest speaker for our monthly Ignited Fundraising Community member webinar.

During the hour-long session Jay tackled the sticky issue of donor retention and how to optimize your donor database for retention success. If you’re a community member, you can login and find the webinar & slides in the latest resources section.

Here’s a brief summary of what Jay shared, because we all know donor retention is the key to meeting your fundraising goals:

– In 2013 for the first time nationwide donor retention rates dropped below 40%.



– A 39% retention rate means six out of every 10 donors do not give again.

– The real secret behind those numbers: when you dig a little deeper you learn that new donor retention (people who give once) is only 22%. If they give again, the retention rate nearly triples to 60.8%

WOW! That’s such a huge increase it almost seems too good to be true.

Here’s a 3-item checklist from the webinar to help you utilize your database to triple YOUR retention rate:

1. The magic potion for retention success is communication.
What happens in the first 90 days as far as interactions and communications makes the difference whether that donor stays with you or decides that it was a one time gift. So, thank them quickly, invite them to something else. Get into communication with them.

2. Capture and integrate both internal and external communication directly in your database.
This builds your institutional memory. e.g. Note when you phone someone. Note when your board members or CEO meet with someone. Notice when they click on links in your enewsletter.

3. Allow the 0/10/90 rule determine how you spend your precious work hours.
[su_note note_color=”#e8e8e8″ text_color=”#000000″ radius=”0”] Jay suggests dividing your data into three segments: those that contribute 0% of the your funding, those that contribute 10% of your funding, and those who contribute 90%. And then:

  • Remove or mark inactive those that contribute 0%, unless they are previous above-average donors, previous board members, or previous top volunteers.
  • Communication with your 10% category can be done in a more automated way with your newsletter & segmented appeals.
  • Spend the majority of your one-on-one efforts on the people who provide 90% of your funding.

Here was the WOW moment for me: Jay shared that he’s observed that organizations who followed the 0/10/90 rule doubled the dollars they raised within three years, and their retention rates had gone up 5 to 10% year after year.

I say: A well-maintained database is like building your savings account.

So, as you move through the busy season of end of year giving, please make sure to pay attention to the data you are capturing and where you are spending your time.

Seven weeks of live coaching with Lori WILL ensure you are making the most of your data. Learn more here.


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