Stop talking about retention and start doing it!

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As fundraisers, we often talk about how to retain our donors/members/supporters and the majority of us recognise how important retaining our donors is. For one, it is much cheaper to keep current donors than to continuously go out and try and find new ones!

We also know that once someone gives a second gift, the likelihood of them giving again increases. Great news! However, we can all be guilty of talking about knowing that it’s important to keep donors engaged, but in the same breath saying things like ‘We don’t need to thank people who give less than £x’!

My advice here is; stop talking about retaining your donors and start doing it! Treat ALL donors like they matter and are important because THEY ARE! Every single gift that comes to your organisation is a conscious decision made by someone to support you, therefore that decision should be celebrated so that that donor feels great about it. If they feel great about it, they are far more likely to give again. If you ignore them, they are far more likely NOT to give again.

Saying you want to retain donors and then categorising those who give less than a certain amount basically puts them into a box titled ‘un-needed’. If your organisation is doing so well that you don’t need any extra support or funding fine, continue not thanking all of your donors. However, if you (like most charitable organisations) do need more funding and do need to increase income, start thanking everyone.  If someone who gives under £10 is not worthy of an acknowledgement, then your organisation is not worthy of another donation from them. All donors start somewhere on the giving scale, do not exclude an entire segment of potential long-term supporters because their gift isn’t big enough; you never know what their second gift may be!

Treat all donors like they matter and see your retention rates rise!

For tips on ways to thank donors, check out my favourite ways here and for examples of reasons to send your donors a card (that isn’t Christmas!) check out Rory Green’s list here!

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