Monday, 21 May 2012

Hold on.

Today’s post is entirely focused on holding on.

To what, you might ask. To your most precious resource, of course. Your lovely donors.

Do you know how many of your donors ‘lapsed’ last year?

As a quick but crucial aside – please don’t ever refer to them as lapsed. I have seen mailings say the words ‘as a lapsed donor…’ Stop this already. This is a dreadful internal charity term. Your donors do not think of themselves as ‘lapsed.’ Think of all the charities you would call yourself a ‘supporter’ of. Have you made a gift to all of them in the last 6 or 12 months? My guess is that the answer is no. Your donors think they are supporters too. Just not recent ones.

Anyway, back to it.  

Bringing in new supporters is crucial. I’m afraid that you’ll never hold on to every donor each year, so brand new ones are the only way to grow the donor base.

But what does your organisation invest in donor acquisition? My bet is that this figure is a fair whack. But if we are acquiring donors we are not 'holding onto', this is a poor use of resource.

We should be doing all we can to hold onto our donors
Once you have wowed a donor into supporting your cause – what happens next? Is the post–gift experience as engaging and exciting as the recruitment? Perhaps not. 

Take a look at who ‘lapsed’ last year? If they’d made the same gift as in the previous year, what would the value have been to your organisation?

Make sure everyone in your organisation knows this figure. Every interaction, email, conversation and piece of mail sent to a donor should occur within the context that your donors are your most precious resource.

Imagine if you could just improve your retention figures by 5% - what would that mean to your income?

Before you send yet another acquisition piece, take a look at what’s going out to your donors.

I’d suggest it’s probably worth investing resource into ‘holding on.’


Niamh took a whistle stop tour of retaining donors here. Next week I’ll be back with some actionable ideas for holding onto donors.



Rachel


@brownrach






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