Donor Retention Is In The Tank!



This venn diagram perfectly illustrates why most nonprofits have low donor retention rates.  There is a clear miss between what most nonprofit organizations talk about what their donors care about.

Here it is in a nutshell.  Here’s a list of things, in order of importance, that your donors care about:

  1. The people or cause you help. The reason your organization exists.
  2. The change that takes place in the people or cause you help. In other words, the difference that your organization makes – that your donors cause with their gift.
  3. The programs and processes of how your organization helps your beneficiaries.

In our experience, most organizations default to talking about #3; their programs and their organization.  And that’s why donor retention in the nonprofit sector is in the tank.

Instead, talk more about the people who need help, and how the donor’s gift will help them.  These are the things that most of your donors care about most – it makes sense to talk about them the most.  And when you do, you’ll raise more money.


Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

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