5 July 2022 | Interactive | Gabrielle Gean

How Well Will You Do in Turning Donor Attrition into Attraction?

Every year, many donors cancel or consider cancelling their regular gifts. However, many charities are unable to stem predictable attrition for one simple reason: they don’t know why their donors are departing in the first place.

Here are some common reasons why donors stop giving:

Assumed that the charity no longer needs donations

Lack visibility on how donations are used

Never got thanked for donating

Didn’t feel informed about the charity’s activities

Financial constraints

Seasoned fundraisers know that donors yearn for a human-centred experience when donating. Just like anyone who has done something exemplary, donors wish to be acknowledged for their good deeds and to feel connected to the charity that they’ve given to. Charities do better when they have genuine relationships with donors, hence donating should never feel transactional, even if it’s done fully online.

In this article, we have assembled a pool of hypothetical donors that you manage. Can you retain them, or will you lose them?

Question 1: How do you show appreciation?

A new recurring donor has just contributed to your charity. In return, you want to show some appreciation for the support by:

Most donors like to see a public acknowledgement and a new donor will likely enjoy a welcome package. However, either one of these alone may not be enough to retain your donors and it may be better paired with other gestures of appreciation.

Public announcement followed by a personal acknowledgement. After making a public acknowledgment, craft a personalised “thank you” message to include an update on the mission. For instance, “Hi Michael, we thought you might be interested to see our recent post on Instagram with a reference to some of our recurring donors. It’s a small act of appreciation from us for the big-hearted generosity you have shown to our campaign. Without your donation, we would not have been able to raise up to $1 Million for our Save the Earth campaign!”.

Consider including some of these gestures into your show of appreciation:

Event invitations. Host events like brunch or afternoon tea that extend a “thank you”  to your donors. They can also be exclusive events like a premiere of a movie or a concert.

Volunteer opportunities. Donors can also be volunteers. In fact, a volunteer invitation to donors, gives them a chance to view the mission that’s well under way with their contribution.

Question 2: How do you improve donor engagement?

Some of your campaigns have not achieved the results that you would estimate due to the lack of interest in donating. In response, you:

Effective storytelling is the heart and soul of non-profits. As an essential tool for charities to raise awareness, storytelling not only helps supporters understand and connect with causes but has the power to alter perceptions and in turn, actions. While it’s important to deliver consistent content that reflects non-profit narratives, communication is also a two-way street. Strike a good balance between emotional storytelling and factually grounded content that can provide actionable steps for your supporters. A starting point for this is by sharing your non-profit’s annual report, where facts and numbers correspond with the emotional narrative on milestones, achievements, as well as challenges.

Listening to and interacting with donors are also equally important. Donor experience is crucial, and gathering feedback directly from them is an excellent approach to know their thoughts on potential for improvement, and preferable ways to connect with them. Soliciting input, tweaking the strategy, and soliciting more feedback — these are actionable steps for any charity to make headway toward increasing donor support and growth.

Question 3: How do you re-engage and regain lapsed donors?

Some of your donors have decided to stop giving due to financial constraints, you try rebuilding the relationship by:

Personalised emails that include impactful storytelling and personal touches may seem great to reconnect with lapsed donors. However, when a donor decides to stop their regular gift due to financial restraints, it is highly likely that these emails offer a very limited ROI. Flexibility goes beyond where they give to encompass when and how they give. Start with listening to lapsed donors to understand their needs and then, offer alternative options for when and why being an active supporter is critical — and tailor your donor retention model accordingly.

While everyone loves a personalised email that shows senders genuinely care about them, offering different ways they can support your charity fortifies flexibility that allows them to engage in the capacity that is best for them right now. Offering a pause in donation until donors are financially capable of giving again eliminates the pressure on supporters to receive multiple emails and donation requests. Other options like volunteering or downgrading will also improve the odds that they will stay active as a donor.

Great Attrition or Great Attraction?

What you do to keep donors indicates the nature of your relationship with them. Donors usually terminate their gifts due to a lack of feeling appreciated and budgetary constraints. Compassion, genuine care, and establishing connections with your donors may be the keys to transforming the Great Attrition into the Great Attraction.

Regardless of where the Achilles heel of donor attrition is, investing in the right tools and plans helps you think ahead. Here is what SG Support can help with:

  • Rich analytics that include your donor attrition trends and insights
  • A cloud-based CRM which enables accurate tracking and management of donor records
  • End-to-end solution for a seamless payment processing and donor journey

Need an in-depth discussion on this topic? Get in touch for insights from our experience.

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