How do we get donors to stick around?
It’s a fundamental question at the heart of every nonprofit’s fundraising program. Yet, clearly, it’s a struggle for many. In fact, statistics from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project show that industrywide retention numbers consistently sit below 50%.
That means most nonprofit organizations are losing more than half their donors. Year after year. Again and again. As quickly as they come in, they’re right out the door.
But why is retention such a challenge?
There are multiple dimensions to that answer. RKD Group set out to explore one: How do donors feel?
More specifically, how do donors feel about the organizations they support?
RKD commissioned McQueen Mackin and Associates to conduct a research study on what drives deeper donor relationships.
We didn’t aim to understand what inspires someone to give to a nonprofit organization for the first time. We wanted to uncover what creates those long-lasting commitments.
Our findings indicate that the biggest differentiators between donors who had weak and strong relationships centered around the notions of feeling valued and involved.
To accomplish this, we set out to determine how specific emotional, rational and behavioral attributes differ among donors who feel strongly about a nonprofit they support and those who don’t.
Ultimately, this is all about feeling— understanding how your marketing and fundraising strategies make a donor feel. For years, nonprofit marketers have used phrases like “donor-centric,” yet as an industry, we too often miss the mark on understanding our donors and placing them in the center of how we communicate.This is about talking with donors versus talking at them. Take a moment and think about your communication practices. Do you talk with donors? Or at them?
Simply put: Donors want to be heard. So, nonprofits: Listen up!