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Donor retention—keeping them engaged

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), there are currently 1,429,801 tax-exempt organizations in the U.S. These charities, foundations and other nonprofits are all competing for the same contributions—72 percent of which come from individual donors—or an estimated $228.93 billion each year, to be exact. But donor retention remains a challenge for most nonprofits. On average, less than 25 percent of donors are retained the first year. And an estimated $25 billion of donor funds are not loyally designated to any specific organization, meaning they could be pulled and bestowed to a new charity at any point.So how can your nonprofit increase its donor-retention rate? This e-newsletter will offer suggestions you can start implementing today to keep your donors for years to come. Keep reading to find out more.Get to know your donors

Who are your donors? How do they support you? And what keeps them coming back? These relatively simple questions are difficult to answer if you don’t truly know your donors. It can be as simple as grabbing a cup of coffee, having lunch or, in some cases, swinging by their home to check in, touch base and get to know one another better.

These one-on-ones are great ways to gauge what motivates donors to give, how they prefer to make their contributions and how much they’re likely to give. All of these factors are helpful in determining how to communicate with and nurture them. Don’t forget the importance of the little personal touches, too. Send a card or a handwritten note with a logo’d pocket planner to acknowledge birthdays or important anniversaries. And send thoughtful congratulatory gifts to acknowledge milestones, such as weddings or the birth of a baby. A set of Stemless Wine Glasses or a chenille blanket makes a nice choice.

Help your donors get to know you

To help your donors get to know you, you need to tell your story. Facts, stats and data are all good ways to show donors the impact your organization has on the community. But a well-written story can evoke emotion, compassion and human connection.  A good story should be compelling; it should tap into emotions and it should tell readers why they should care and why they should care now. Choose a focus—perhaps a human-interest angle—then gather the facts, conduct interviews and watch your story unfold. And remember: a picture is worth a thousand words. A story accompanied by captivating imagery is an effective way to tug at their heartstrings.

Share stories and other pertinent information via social media sites, such as Facebook®, Pinterest and Instagram®. Be sure to drive traffic and promote engagement as well. Perhaps pose a question about an interesting fact or statistic in your next direct mail piece, e-newsletter or social-media post. Reward those who answer by entering them in a prize drawing for a logo’d T-shirt or lunch bag.

Getting to know your donors and helping them get to know you is key to developing and nurturing donor relations. Give these ideas a try today. You may be on your way to cultivating beautiful, lifelong relationships.

“Quick Facts About Nonprofits.” National Center for Charitable Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 19 Dec. 2014.

Barry, Frank. “Fundraising is all about people connecting with people. The question is, how well do you know yours?” npENGAGE. N.p., 04 Apr. 2014. Web. Retrieved 19 Dec. 2014.

Kapin, Allyson. “The Great Mysteries of Donor Retention.” Frogloop. N.p., 06 Nov. 2014. Web. Retrieved 19 Dec. 2014.

Morehouse, Macon. “10 Tips for Writing Your Nonprofit Story.” Network for Good. N.p., 19 Nov. 2007. Web. Retrieved 19 Dec. 2014.

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