A Guide to Retaining Your Donors

For non-profit organizations and charities, retaining donors is a top-priority. Yet, in a new study by the Urban Institute and the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2014, the average annual donor-retention rate at nonprofit organizations is just 43 percent. This means that for every $100 a charity raised from new donors in 2013, it lost $92 from existing donors who gave less or stopped giving entirely.

Roger Craver, author of the book Retention Fundraising: The New Art and Science of Keeping Your Donors for Life and contributor to The Agitator blog, says that a well-run organization that focuses on holding on to donors should have a first-year retention rate of around 40 to 45 percent and a multiple-year retention rate of 75 to 85 percent. To do so, organizations have to focus even more on building strong personal relationships with donors. That includes timely and personal gift acknowledgments, continuing communication with supporters, and recurring-donation programs, all of which can improve the odds that donors will keep giving year after year.

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