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Where the real money is

As we launch into the last half of the financial year, what you do next may well determine if your donors stay with you through the next critical fundraising season – tax time. And beyond that too.

So, what better time to put on your donor hat and review the effectiveness of your retention program.

It’s one of the best-known pieces of fundraising research by Dr Adrian Sargeant:

“A 10% improvement in retention can yield up to 200% in projected value, as significantly more donors upgrade their giving, give in multiple ways, recommend others and ultimately perhaps, pledge a planned gift to the organisation.”

This of course doesn’t mean that you should ever stop recruiting new donors. But what it does mean is that when a new donor makes their first gift, sending a thank you letter and adding them to your database is not enough if you want them to give again.

Dr Sargeant’s research also shows that you only have about 90 days after the first donation is made to form the basis of a long-term relationship.

90 days after the first gift, the chances of retention plummet.

That’s why if you want your acquisition programs to perform, it’s critical to have an effective retention program in place. That way your first ask and your donor’s first gift won’t ever be wasted.

Fundraisers already running a successful donor retention program know that it’s tough and challenging to put in place. It requires hard work, commitment and a total organisational buy-in that you’re working for long-term results rather than short-term priorities.

But those charities who are actively stewarding first – and asking second – are being rewarded through a significant increase in the lifetime value of their donors.

Need help?

Contact Fiona McPhee or Andrew Martin to learn more about how to build a bespoke retention program for your donors.

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