Communication Strategies for Donor Retention

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Communication Strategies for Donor Retention

June 29, 2020
Raj Khera

In times when operational costs for organizations are increasing and donor prospects are lower, the need for a donor retention strategy takes on renewed importance. With the unprecedented economic upheaval and evolving business practices due to COVID-19, finding ways to communicate effectively and retain donors is crucial. Donor retention is part of the ongoing donor process that includes identifying prospects, building relationships, and donor stewardship.

Donor stewardship is the process that occurs once a donor has given to your organization. Stewardship refers directly to the continued communication and relationship building that happens after the initial transaction, which directly affects your donor retention rate. 

This guide covers the importance of donor stewardship in order to maintain donor retention, explains why donor retention is economically beneficial compared to acquiring new donors and how it increases your organization’s rate of return (ROI). The critical components of a consistent messaging plan to facilitate keeping donors informed of the impact their donations are having on the cause they care about and highlighting your organization’s continued appreciation for their support is explored in detail.

Keep reading or “jump” ahead to these sections:

Building and Maintaining Donor Relationships

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  • Beginning the Cycle with Donor Cultivation

Donor cultivation is the process of identifying and engaging with possible prospects, sharing your organization’s mission, and beginning to build a relationship before requesting a gift. Donor qualification determines which potential donors have the ability to give to your organization, and at which level they can be expected to contribute. WealthEngine’s wealth modeling feature works to help determine the status of each prospect, so you can easily identify which areas of your organization will appeal to them and which level of contribution is the best fit. 

The donor cycle begins as soon as a prospect is identified. Help these potential donors familiarize themselves with your organization’s mission, and explain why your cause is relevant to each donor. WealthEngine 9’s Engagement Science feature allows you to utilize personalized information and interact with your donors through targeted campaigns designed to increase engagement.

Insights provided by the WealthEngine 9 comprehensive platform dig deeply into the lifestyle of your donors, so you can understand what motivates them, which allows your organization to create meaningful relationships centered around your mission and your donors’ interests. By analyzing relevant wealth and lifestyle signals, WealthEngine gives you the necessary tools to personalize your campaigns and boost your donor engagement.

Once you have utilized this information to appropriately target your messaging, continue the conversation, and explain why their contribution is important. Provide examples of the impact their support will have and make it clear where their gift will be going. This provides your donors with a clear understanding of their impact. Remember, it is important to find ways to personalize your message to make it relatable to each donor. 

  • Continue to Build Relationships Through Donor Engagement

Once a relationship has been established, it is crucial to continue nurturing a connection between the donor and the organization. Focus on keeping an open line of communication with supporters through consistent emails and newsletters featuring updates of your work and achievements. 

It is vital that the relationship between your organization and its donors be one built on two-way communication. Use all of your communication channels to solicit donor feedback through interactive surveys, polls, and reviews, and be sure to announce when elements of initiatives contain suggestions gleaned from donor feedback. This will demonstrate to your donors that their