Retaining Donors: 4 Important Strategies for Nonprofits

Your nonprofit relies on the generosity of donors to operate. With frequent donations, your nonprofit can reliably fund its events and programs, helping make a difference in the community. But, after you receive these donations, are you doing everything you can to retain donors for the long term?

To have enough room in your budget for your daily operations, your nonprofit needs a high donor retention rate. Donor retention is determined by how well you engage existing donors and encourage them to give again. A nonprofit with a low donor retention rate has to continually acquire new donors, which is time-consuming and costly.

To put your nonprofit in the best financial position possible, prioritize increasing your donor retention with these four strategies:

  • Create a monthly giving program
  • Add matching gifts to your donation page
  • Leverage your nonprofit’s CRM
  • Express donor appreciation

A high donor retention rate can go a long way in boosting your nonprofit’s revenue.


Create a monthly giving program.

A monthly giving program is an easy and effective way to raise revenue year round. According to Donately, a robust monthly giving program gives your nonprofit access to a more reliable virtual fundraising stream.

Monthly giving is not only beneficial to your nonprofit; it caters to donors’ desires for convenience and flexibility, therefore helping you to retain them for the long run. With recurring giving, donors won’t have to worry about filling out your donation page each time they want to give.

For your monthly giving program to be successful, you’ll need to market it widely. Use social media, email, and any other relevant communication platforms to tell donors how to sign up for monthly giving and the benefits! 45% of donors are enrolled in a monthly giving program, demonstrating that donors find it personally rewarding to give frequently and appreciate the convenience of automated donations.


Add matching gifts to your donation page.

Matching gifts are essential components to include in your nonprofit donation page to encourage donors’ sense of shared generosity. Finding someone willing to offer their support with matching gifts can allow you to integrate a matching gifts option on your donation page. Donors will then be encouraged by the fact that their gift could double or even triple in value and consider giving more.

According to 360MatchPro’s fundraising statistics, 1 in 3 donors indicated they’d make a larger gift if matching is applied to their donation. This can significantly boost your nonprofit’s online fundraising efforts and help donors feel like they’re truly making a difference. As a result, they’ll be more likely to return to your giving page again and again.

To further encourage donors to take advantage of matching gifts, highlight the impact of specific donation amounts. For example, if you’re an animal welfare organization, you could list how many bags of dog food you can purchase as a result of their generosity.


Leverage your nonprofit’s CRM.

A constituent relationship management (CRM) system is an invaluable fundraising tool that streamlines donor data management. Used strategically, a CRM can easily help you boost donor retention and improve donor communications.

CRM systems allow nonprofits to:

  • Manage donor profiles. Get an in-depth look at not only your donors’ basic contact information, but also their historical involvement with your organization. This way, you can see how often donors give and encourage one-time donors to give more frequently.
  • Segment donor lists. To target one-time donors or recurring donors who haven’t given to your organization in a while, use your CRM to divide donors into different lists. This will help you tailor your communications to specific audiences, rather than sending everyone the same message that may not inspire action.
  • Send targeted email campaigns. Once your donors are segmented into lists, your CRM will efficiently send out targeted emails. You can customize these emails to specific audiences so they have a strong call-to-action that’s relevant to the recipients and present a compelling case for support.

There are many available CRM platforms, so do your research to find a solution that fits your needs and works within your nonprofit’s budget.


Express donor appreciation.

This is a simple and surefire way to secure your donors’ support for years to come. Let donors know how much you value their contribution as soon as they donate to your organization and for every donation thereafter. This way, donors will feel like they’re part of your organization’s community and will be inspired to give again.

Use these tips to strengthen donor relationships in your communications:

  • Address your donors directly. Instead of a generic greeting like “Dear Valued Donor,” address your donors with their names. They’ll be more likely to read through your message and take next steps.
  • Be personal. Thank donors for the specific amount they contributed to your organization. Instead of saying “Thank you for your gift,” be more personal by writing “Thank you for your $15 donation.” You can also thank existing donors for how long they’ve been giving to your organization.
  • Explain the impact of their gift. Explain how their specific gift has made a positive difference and supported your nonprofit’s efforts.
  • Provide a clear call-to-action. Your communication should end in a strong and urgent call-to-action to give again. This should also be tailored to the specific donor. For instance, if a donor gave $5, you wouldn’t want to ask them to give $100 next time. Instead, suggest that they increase their donation from $5 to $10 since this is more reasonable and likely to occur.

You can further express donor appreciation by spotlighting them on your NPO organizational website, your standalone fundraising website operated by a third party, or social media. This will make donors feel special and can help turn casual donors into avid supporters of your nonprofit.

Your nonprofit needs a reliable revenue stream to operate, so boosting your donor retention rate is essential. Make recurring giving convenient and rewarding for your donors so they’ll be more likely to support your organization for the long run. With targeted communications, you can motivate donors to take action and be a part of the solution. Then, once they’ve donated, remind donors how much they’re valued. Reach out to Phil to continue the conversation. Good luck!