Nonprofit fundraising can be a challenge, especially for nonprofits that are still building their relationships with the community. Nonprofits have to be creative and persistent if they are to regularly bring in donors -- and especially so if they want to retain them.
The Difference Between Retention and Acquisition
Acquisition is often the target for nonprofits, but though it does expand your reach it's more costly overall than retention. Retaining customers is more affordable, which is why commercial organizations focus on it primarily.
Retention is also a way to build stable and predictable donations. These donations are easier to track, as there won't be a lot of guesswork related to how much money is going to come in. When retained, donors can also become ambassadors, providing awareness for the organization without any investment for the organization itself.
Developing a Relationship With Donors
- Personalize your communications. Send existing donors personalized messages rather than form mail -- especially high value donors who have contributed regularly. You can trigger messages to be sent based on donor actions, such as donors signing up for events. You can also send communications during holidays.
- Engage on social media. Donors are more likely to feel as though they have developed a relationship when they can connect to a nonprofit on social media. Donors will also be able to see what your nonprofit is doing day to day. Don't forget to share information about your initiatives, your volunteers, and your general mission. All of this will help donors relate.
- Appear at community events. Never underestimate the strength of showing up to community events, as it's an excellent way to remind donors that you're active and performing good deeds. And don't forget to also post these events on social media. Community events provide opportunities for visible outreach apart from standard fundraisers.
- Promote volunteering. When donors volunteer and spend time with an organization, they are more likely to feel responsible for the success of that organization. Engage donors in volunteer activities and you can get them more involved in the nonprofit overall.
In many ways retaining donors is similar to retaining customers. You need to continue connecting with them on a regular basis and displaying what your organization is about. The closer they connect the more likely they will be to both donate and help with your organization.