You're Losing Your Donors!


I heard it again today on a call with a client; “We’re losing our donors!  What can we do to stop it, and what can we do to get them all back?”

The first thing is to know that you can’t stop it.  The second thing to know is that you can’t get them all back.

All organizations are losing their donors at a regular rate.  Always-helpful nonprofit blogger Tom Ahern recently addressed a simple question; how long does the average donor stay with a charity?  The answer may surprise you . . .

If you’re like most charities, over half of your active donors will give you a one-time donation and then never give you another gift.  Amazing and sad, isn’t it?  50% of your donors will not continue to give to the amazing work you do and the people you serve.

There’s lots to discuss here, but there’s one surefire thing you can do to keep as many of your donors as you can; treat them like you respect and care for them.  First, Thank them promptly and emotionally.  Do that within 48 hours of their gift.  Second, Report back to them with a story of a person whose life was changed.  Do that in a printed newsletter at least once a quarter.

Those are the simplest, most powerful steps you can take to keep your donors.


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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