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How To Sustain Your Annual Donors And Engaging Your First-time Donors

What’s next after your fundraising team wraps up a successful annual or mid-year campaign? Prospects have been targeted, engaged and are now donors or your annual donor has given for the fourth year in a row. Your effort shouldn’t stop there. This is where your relationship begins or continues, and you need to ensure that you are engaging and stewarding your donors. A healthy retention rate is what is needed for your organization to sustain its mission and be successful. Retaining donors is a multi-step process, but if you put yourself in the donor’s shoes, it’s also a simple one.
Donors want to be informed and feel connected to your organization. To do this, you will need to communicate with them and share your vision and mission. Once they see the validation of your organization and they give, you will need to immediately acknowledge and thank the donor for their support however, the relationship doesn’t stop there. You will need to engage them, to sustain their support and turn them into an annual donor.
A healthy retention rate relies on communication, personalization, and motivation. Sustaining your donors isn’t complicated, just be donor centric. Think back to when you last gave to an organization…
Why did you give?
Did you give more than once?
How do they keep you engaged?
What could they do better?

Donors want four things:
  1. Inclusion: Practice a two-way line of communication and encourage their feedback.
  2. Validation: Donors want to feel as they are being heard and that you align with their thoughts.  
  3. Information:  Share your news via newsletters, magazines, emails, etc. Don’t go dark!
  4. Transparency: Be as transparent with your donors as possible. Share your goals, successes and struggles.
To go into this topic even deeper, check-out my webinar, “Thanking and Retaining End of Year Donors.” This Webinar will take you through the process of retaining and stewarding your new and annual donors throughout the year. If you have any questions about this topic, you can email me at I would love to hear what you are doing to increase your donor retention rate!

Posted by Tanya Fitzgerald on Apr 23, 2019 11:56 AM America/New_York

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Great information!  Thank you!
  • Posted Thu 25 Apr 2019 05:51 PM EDT
I think validation is so key.
  • Posted Fri 26 Apr 2019 11:07 PM EDT
Yes!  We are working on this now.
  • Posted Wed 01 May 2019 12:49 PM EDT
Validation is definitely key.  As is providing impact info :)   Thanks for sharing!
  • Posted Thu 02 May 2019 01:20 PM EDT
Great post!
  • Posted Mon 20 May 2019 09:44 AM EDT
We have been working on this approach for about a year now, and it has really paid off. I find myself thinking about the responses I get from other non-profits when I donate and if they are making a good effort to keep me as a donor. It really does make a difference! One of the things we've done is improved how we connect with new donors. We've already received a significant second gift from one that I connected with!
  • Posted Wed 22 May 2019 12:27 PM EDT
Great post! We continue to work on this approach as an organization. We just completed a full year of our new donor welcome series and have already seen an improvement in new donor retention!
  • Posted Wed 17 Jul 2019 09:42 AM EDT