Recently, Blackbaud’s npENGAGE blog gathered tips on how nonprofits can do a better job keeping donors on boardÂ from some of the best fundraisers around. Â Your mileage may vary but each insight offers a little piece of gold bound to help at least a little bit. I was struck, however, by the general message: â€œyou need to do a better job engaging people, acknowledging them, and being genuine, loyal and transparent.â€
The message is true and the tactics presented are solid but it’s not enough. We we need to understand why people enter the organization, recognize that many arenâ€™t going to stay, and build fundraising strategies with likely long-term donors in mind. Organizations also need to structure their acquisition and fundraising programs (online and otherwise) for strong collaboration between staff that handle acquisition and long-term retention.
Donor retention is headed downward with a sort of Wile E Coyote falling off a cliff predictability. Â Blackbaudâ€™s head science guy, Chuck Longfield, reports that new donor retention is around 27% these days. Retention keeps falling while the incentive to keep people on board grows — acquiring a new donor costs five, six, seven or times more than keeping an existing donor.
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