Donor Retention and Communications

| by Shannon Williams

Donor retention is critical. You know it. You have heard the Armstrong McGuire team talk about it for years.

Unfortunately, donor retention rates are trending in the wrong direction according to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) Fourth Quarter Report. The report states, “The overall 2020 donor retention rate was 43.6%, a 4.1% drop from the 2019 rate of 45.4%.” It is the lowest donor retention rate since FEP started tracking in 2007. Read more on this from the Association of Fundraising Professionals here.

The answer?

Timely communication about the impact of the gift is the key to donor retention. Penelope Burk, author of the industry-standard Donor-Centered Fundraising, repeated a well-researched mantra in her recent blog: “According to donors, It’s the information you send them before asking them to give again that makes them want to renew their support and, when it’s really satisfying, to give more generously.”

For a reminder of some of Penelope’s most important tips and a chance to submit some of your best examples of donor-centered communications, check out her blog: Communication is the Ask.

We all know it costs much less to retain a donor than to find a new one. Take a few minutes to read about the state of retention from the FEP and about how to improve retention from Penelope Burk using the links above. As you move full steam into fourth quarter fundraising, you will be glad you did.

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