publication date: Feb 29, 2012
author/source: Sumac Research
Did you know that a typical nonprofit will lose 50% of its
donors between the first and second donation, and up to 30% per year thereafter?
, Reasons For Lapse: The Case of
Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 2004
. 9(2), pp171-182.)
This staggering rate of attrition has forced many nonprofits into a
never-ending cycle of trying to acquire new donors - a technique that costs a
lot and has little return.
It's time to switch gears. Stop that endless acquisition
cycle and start focusing on the donors you already have. Show them a little
love, thank them, let them know that their donations have been used as
intended, and show them a return on their investment. That's how to create the
"perfect donor experience."
If you can master it, your donors will not only stick
around, but they'll give more! It's not
rocket science, but it does take a little strategic planning. Here's what the
perfect donor experience looks like:
You present donors with a clearly defined need, ask them to
contribute and tell them specifically how their donation will be used. Let's
say you're a food bank and you need a larger storage facility so that you can
accept more donations for food. Define this need clearly. Give the donor the
opportunity to imagine the outcome. It's all part of the experience.
Because you have presented such a good case for support, you
convince the donor that your cause is worth supporting, and he decides to
donate. He writes out a cheque and feels great as he thinks about how many
people this new, larger facility will help.
You send the donor a thank-you letter in the mail that
expresses sincere appreciation for his generous contribution and reaffirms that
his donation will go directly to build this new facility. The donor again feels
great about his decision to give and is excited to hear news about the
progress. You should send a thank-you letter after each and every donation, the
sooner the better.
A month later, you send your donor your newsletter with a
headline story about how the project is coming along. "Thank you to all the
generous supporters.... we have now raised the necessary funds to build the new
Months down the road there is another update in the
newsletter that shows the building being built with another "thanks" to all
those who contributed!
A year later, the donor reads another update in your
newsletter about how this new storage facility is helping your organization
provide food to so many more needy people.
Such updates help
donors see their donations at work. This is why they gave in the first place,
so showing them what their donations built makes them feel good about their
decision to give. It also builds trust with your organization.
So that's it - one cycle of the perfect donor experience.
This is what you should be aiming to deliver with each and every one of your
donors each and every time they donate. It's pretty straightforward, but not
always easy to achieve whether you're dealing with hundreds, even thousands of
donors or you're a small charity with minimal staff.
With the right database, however, it's entirely possible to
plan and schedule everything just right: to run strategic campaigns, to thank
donors on time, to deliver planned updates. You can show them a return on
investment that keeps them giving and giving more!
This article was contributed by Sumac Fundraising
Software. Sumac is giving back to nonprofits by offering its software free to
organizations with fewer than 500 contacts.
For more information, visit www.sumac.com.