“We want new donors!” 

It’s a phrase we hear again and again when it comes to nonprofit growth. But it’s not cheap or easy to recruit new donors. 

According to Nonprofit Quarterly, it can take 18 – 24 months to recoup the cost of attracting a first-time donor, as most gifts are generally one half (or less) than the marketing/recruiting cost. 

So while there’s no doubt that new donors are invaluable; your best sources of fundraising are your recurring donors.

 

What Are Recurring Donors? 

Recurring donors are those who choose to donate to your organization over and over again. They might be monthly members or simply give annually to your organization like clockwork. Either way, they return to your nonprofit year-after-year and are usually responsible for the greatest percentage of your fundraising efforts. 

According to DonorVoice, increasing donor retention can result in a 3X increase in acceptance of additional offers, a 50% decrease in attrition, and a 35% increase in net income. 

Unfortunately, the average donor retention rate for nonprofits hovers around 45%. That means every year, over half of your donors will choose not to donate again—for a variety of possible reasons:

  • They think the charity no longer needs them.
  • They were never thanked for their donation.
  • They didn’t know how their money was used.
  • They don’t remember giving.
  • They can no longer afford to donate. 

woman making an online donation


8 Ways to Avoid Monthly Donor Churn
 

How can you mitigate these common reasons not to give, reduce monthly donor churn, and increase donor retention? 

1. Inspire Donors Through Education 

Why did your donors first decide to give? It’s most likely that they saw what you do and they were inspired to be a part of it. Sometimes donors stop giving because they can’t remember why their gift matters. Remind them. 

  • Share personal stories from your community and how your nonprofit has made a difference.
  • Use videos and images to show exactly the type of impact you’re making thanks to donors.
  • Keep up-to-date with the latest information about your organization and how donors can get involved.

How Humanitru Helps
With Humanitru, you can extend your digital fundraising efforts far and wide to connect with your donors as often as possible. You can also make it easy for your supporters to learn about what’s happening and to drive excitement. For example, Humanitru can help you:

  • Create campaign landing pages to share about your latest fundraising efforts.
  • Send out personalized emails to your supporters to keep them up-to-date with the latest happenings and encourage continued giving.
  • Promote events and volunteer opportunities to increase constituent engagement and demonstrate your continued fundraising efforts.

 

2. Encourage Monthly Memberships (Automatic Recurring Gifts) 

Monthly memberships are your friend. 75% of donors will keep their plan in place across the first six months, and many will continue giving for years. 

Memberships are a great way to incentivize giving and involvement with your organization. It also greatly simplifies the donation process for your supporters. They simply sign up once, and then their donations are automatically set to continue. 

The key to gaining monthly memberships is to provide special benefits just for these donors. For example, you could:

  • Offer a member-only newsletter with special insight, early registration, or discounts.
  • Provide special access to events, raffle tickets, or extending auction bidding.
  • Host member-only activities or volunteer opportunities.
  • Give exclusive discounts or access to tickets, services, or products.
  • Present members with a special card that highlights their premium status.

How Humanitru Helps
Humanitru can help your nonprofit create branded landing pages for membership signups and recurring giving opportunities. Best yet, these membership pages can be published with different membership types, amounts, and benefits as required. You can then share this URL link with your most supportive donors and encourage them to sign up.

 

3. Personalize the Donation Process 

Donors want to feel like they are giving to real people and to a real cause. They want to know that they, personally, are making a difference. A great way to instill that feeling is to personalize the giving experience. 

According to the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy, “Donors…concerns may be more about maximizing their personal satisfaction rather than seeking optimum outcomes from a broader societal perspective.” 

Demonstrate that you know who your donors are and what their history is with your organization. The more you can engage your donors based on their interests and communication preferences, the better. You can:

  • Reach out to your donors by name to thank them for their gift and ask for further donations.
  • Personalize marketing campaigns based on supporter type and last known interaction.
  • Schedule meetings, send handwritten notes, and make personal calls to show that you care.

How Humanitru Helps
Humanitru ensures that your donors are more than a number by making it easy to add, organize, and sync all of your supporters in one location. From there, you can keep track of a plethora of supporter information and use that insight to create actions, notes, pipelines, emails, schedule meetings, and more. 

Not only does Humanitru help you manage each specific donor profile, but it makes it simple to personalize how and when you reach out. You’ll know everything you need to know about your supporters to personalize their experience, including:

  • Donation amounts and dates,
  • Average gift size,
  • Monthly most likely to donate,
  • Total lifetime giving,
  • Volunteer activities,
  • Event registrations,
  • Email campaigns,
  • Last contact,
  • And more. 

smiling woman in yellow shirt using a telephone


4. Follow-up with Lapsed Donors
 

Lapsed donors have given to you once already, so they are more likely to be interested in giving to you again. All you have to do is ask. 

First, make sure you define what a lapsed donor is for your organization. Most often, this is a donor who has not given or interacted with your organization in more than 12 months. Then, decide how best to contact them—email, phone, meeting, traditional mail, etc.—and reach out. 

Just make sure that you don’t start selling your organization immediately upon contact. First, find out why they are a lapsed donor and then personalize your approach based on that information. For example, if they lapsed because they haven’t heard from your organization in a while, give them an update. However, if they lapsed due to finances, explain how small of a donation can still make a difference. 

How Humanitru Helps
Humanitru’s powerful database can track your lapsed donors. Find out when someone last donated, how engaged they are with your email list, their average lifetime value, and more, then use this information to reach out. You can then determine if your donor is hot, cold, or lukewarm and create a strategy with targeted tasks to transform your lapsed donor into a current supporter.

Best of all, Humanitru can save you time and effort by providing valuable automated Donor Insights (either daily, weekly, monthly, or a combination of each) that help you identify and reach out to supporters before they slip away. 

 

5. Host an Event/Activity 

A community event is a great way to remind your supporters of who you are, what you do, and how constituents can get involved. Even during the pandemic, events can be a great way to educate your supporters and inspire donation—by providing a virtual alternative. 

Events and activities are more than simply a vehicle for donations. They provide an invaluable opportunity to connect with your supporters holistically and create long-lasting relationships. 

Consider creating a wide range of activity and engagement options for your supporters to get involved with. The more chances a supporter has to go above and beyond sending in their money, the better. Some examples of supporter engagement ideas include:

  • Volunteering
  • Fundraising Dinners
  • Virtual Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns
  • Virtual Webinars
  • Networking Events (in-person and online)

How Humanitru Helps
Humanitru’s event management tool is ideal for managing everything from annual galas to charity golf tournaments and online silent auctions. You can encourage event registrations through mobile-friendly event landing pages and then promote your event and fundraising with ease, using:

  • Text to give: Encourage mobile donations via texting.
  • Mobile bidding: Offer event attendees a fun and interactive mobile bidding experience.
  • Event customization: Develop branded landing pages for social sharing, offer different event ticket types, sell event sponsorships online, generate QR codes, and more.

 

6. Make Donating Easy 

The more friction a supporter encounters when trying to donate to your organization, the more likely they are to abandon their attempt. If they have to jump through a half-dozen hoops to get you money, they are going to say it’s too difficult and donate their money and time elsewhere. Instead, when you make donating easy, it can drastically improve your retention rates by improving the supporter experience. 

How Humanitru Helps
Humanitru allows you to simplify the giving experience in a range of ways. Your organization can use the platform to extend your digital fundraising online through mobile bidding, gain mobile donations using text messaging, and encourage fun competition through peer-to-peer fundraising. 

Humanitru’s donation pages also help you optimize donations by making giving a one-click experience. These user-friendly pages eliminate donor friction and provide a streamlined experience your constituents will love.

 

7. Thank Your Donors … OFTEN 

Your donors want to know that their money and time is appreciated. They want to know that it has had a positive impact on your cause and the community as a whole. That’s why it’s so important to thank your donors immediately and often. Let them know how much their gift is appreciated and how it made a difference. 

  • When supporters donate online, have an immediate and automatic donation receipt with a heartfelt thank you sent to their inbox.
  • Send out handwritten thank you letters.
  • Create a video thank you after an event or campaign.
  • Send a social media shout out to regular donors.
  • Get on the phone and call your donors to thank them personally.

If your donors have taken the time to give you something, take the same amount of time to give back to them. A personalized thank you can go a long way toward encouraging donor retention! 

How Humanitru Helps
Humanitru offers automatic receipting to ensure your supporters are sent a message while your organization is still top of mind. Once a transaction takes place, the system automatically generates and sends a customizable branded receipt and thank you note. These notes can be set up on a per-campaign, donation, event, or volunteer basis.

 

smiling girl in blue holds a thank you sign


8. Report on Outcomes with Data
 

Donors deserve to know the results of their giving. On a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis, provide a report sharing the results of your nonprofit’s work. These can be in the form of impact reports, newsletters, infographics, video updates, blogs, or other media. 

The key is to track pertinent data and then share that data with all your supporters. The more your supporters can see the good you do, the more likely they’ll be to donate to you again and again. 

How Humanitru Helps
Humanitru’s powerful but easy to comprehend reporting and analytics make sharing your organization’s outcomes easy. You can quickly pull reports that show:

  • Donation amounts, dates, and average gift size.
  • Membership payments and frequency.
  • Volunteer signups, hours, and applications.
  • Program/event registrations, engagement, and dates.
  • Email engagement.
  • Customized information about your donors, members, volunteers, events, and more.

 

Recurring Donors are Invaluable, and Humanitru Can Help You Keep Them

Recurring donors help you gain access to bigger networks for fundraising and they are a valuable source for larger gift amounts. Beyond that, “Recurring donors have the highest lifetime financial return, 42 percent above fundraisers and 440 percent above one-time donors,” according to the State of Modern Philanthropy. 

That’s why it’s so important that your nonprofit focuses on retaining its recurring donors over acquiring new ones. The good news is that supporter insights available through AI-fueled platforms like Humanitru make that task easier and far less time consuming, allowing you more opportunities to provide donors a personalized experience.

Sign up for a demo today, and we would love to show you how.

With over 20 years of fundraising experience, Jessica has worked for the Starr King School for the Ministry, The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation, The University of South Carolina, RuffaloCODY, and the Libertarian National Committee. As a consultant, Jessica provides her fundraising services to nonprofits and higher education organizations. You can find her at Real Deal Fundraising.
Jessica Cloud, CFRE, MA

Fundraising Success Coach

Humanitru clients experience an average active donor growth of 69%

See how we can help you reach those who support your mission and grow your revenue today!

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