Donor Retention strategies for Non-profits

“Donor retention” is a hot topic in the non-profit sector today. Fundraising companies and non-profits face plenty of challenges including donor retention. According to AFP Foundation for Philanthropy’s Fundraising Effectiveness Report, 2017, the annual donor retention rate turned out to be 48%. For the past few years, there has been a shift in the focus in the non-profit sector. It has moved from donor acquisition to donor retention. The donor space is stagnant, new donors have become harder to attract and is also an expensive affair. Even if new donors are acquired, they receive donations only once, which leave them with a loss in their initial investment to retain that new donor. The true benefits of acquiring donors can be derived only when donors are retained over the long term. Non-profits need to focus on ways to keep both new and existing donors contributing year after year to be sustainable. 

The status of Donor retention today

Non-profits are caught on a treadmill where loads of funds are spent on acquisition but still remain stagnant. There are several causes for a donor loss of this magnitude. According to the Bain & Co.’s India Philanthropy Report in 2016, a little over 60% of donors said they do not know any “credible non-profits”. This is mainly because of the donor to the non-profit relationship. Donors are people who choose to invest in your organization, and, while their investments might come in monetary form, they deliver much more than that. They’re not just investing their money but also their time and emotion in your organization and the cause your organization supports. The report also said that 70% prefer the greater display of transparency and accountability. Majority of donors do not know where their contributions are used and more importantly, whether they’re even creating an impact or not. 

Strategies to improve donor retention

 1. Have a planned on-boarding experience

80% of non-profits are often confused as to why donors stop contributing. They fail to realize that a donor’s decision to leave a non-profit is dependent on their onboarding experience with them. Donors are looking for a donation process that is simple and easy. Optimize your donation page to make it convenient for the donor. Using technological solutions such as chat bots or virtual assistants to assist donors in every step of the donation process boosts donor experience significantly. 

  2. Build lasting relationships with your donors

Donors are not just names in your database. They have invested not only their money but also their time and emotion in your organization. They are potential volunteers and future board members. Making an effort in deeper donor engagement makes a huge difference to the rate of retention. Online marketplaces such as SociallyGood allow the donors to directly connect with the non-profits of their preference and build honest and genuine relationships. 

3. Show generosity and gratitude

Convey your gratitude for their contributions by sending personalized emails to the donors thanking them for their funds. Assure them that you are looking forward to more acts of compassion from them. And don’t forget to send them friendly follow-ups by updating them on causes they would be interested to donate to in the near future. 

4. Build transparency with your donors

Share success stories to your donors that occurred due to their contributions. This establishes honesty and transparency among your donors. It also shows them that their generosity was not in vain. Digital solutions can be applied to ensure that donors can monitor their donations and witness its impact on themselves. An online marketplace such as SociallyGood enables the donors to monitor and measure the impact of their donations first hand.

 5. Provide the donors volunteering options

Asking donors to volunteer allows them to provide support in a different way. As volunteers work on projects or at fundraising events, they get to experience your work first hand that will further connect them to your nonprofit. If a donor develops a physical connection, they’re likely to stick to your nonprofit longer because they have spent time working in your nonprofit.   

We at SociallyGood help non-profits in effective donor management by providing them a dynamic platform. If you are also looking to associate with us, please do visit us at or write to us at

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