If your charity’s multi-year donor retention rates are falling then your charity’s financial heath is really at risk. This is because multi-year donors are often your most committed donors and the ones who are most likely to respond to your fundraising appeals.
Unfortunately, the most common reaction of fundraisers when they notice that the multi-year donor retention rates are falling is to cut back on the number of times they ask these donors to give to the charity. Often such actions prompt even more donors to stop giving. At the end of the day why should donors give to your charity if you stop asking them to support your work!
Instead, when you notice a fall in the retention rates of multi-year donors, you should evaluate the materials you are currently putting in front of your most committed donors and your fundraising activities. Here are some suggestions of fundraising tools and activities to undertake in order to increase multi-year donor retention rates:
Make your fundraising appeals urgent and emotional. Make sure that you or the person who writes your fundraising letters is not burying the need for funds at the end of the appeal or expressing it in institutional language.
Keep your cause in front of your donors in creative and fresh ways. Share compelling and heart warming stories in your newsletters, appeals and thank you letters.
Make every point of contact between you and the donor a positive and memorable one – this means regularly updating your website, responding quickly and effectively to donor’s requests for information, thanking them promptly for their gifts, give them opportunities to get involved in your work beyond making a donation ( e.g. ask them to pray, to volunteer, to visit projects in the field, etc)
Ask all your donors to renew their support or membership to your charity at least once a year.
Offer donor opportunities to give monthly or quarterly to support your work through online fundraising tools, mailings and phone calls. And remember that by investing in keeping your most valuable donors you will not only increase the donated income to your charity but you will also pave the way for receiving major gifts and legacies.