81% of First Time Donors Walk Away

by Ashley Perry

The Fundraising Effectiveness Project

recently released their 2021 reports, and gave us this mind-blowing statistic:

81% of first-time donors to a nonprofit organization do not make a second gift.

That’s harsh! (I've been obsessing about it for the last week.)

Studies have shown that it costs 10 times more to acquire a new donor than it does to retain an old one, so why are we letting new donors walk away? 

Securing donors only to lose them is a cycle of absolute craziness! 

The key to retaining new donors is showing them the love. Here are some tips to connect with your donors, so you retain them, year after year.

1- Your Donor Is The HERO

Don’t focus your message on your nonprofit. It’s our job to make donors feel like heroes. Satisfy that need upfront and center. Donors want to help solve a problem, and we are here to give them that opportunity.

2 – Storytelling

Client stories should evoke an emotional response from your donor.

With every communication- written or verbal, be sure to share the impact your nonprofit has made on those you serve. These stories should inspire, engage, and energize your donor's connection to your mission and those you serve.

3 – Donor Discovery

Learn as much as possible about your donors.

The goal is to find out what is important to them, and what they’re trying to accomplish by being involved with your nonprofit.

It’s a long-term process of cultivation and relationship building, which paves the way for repeat gifts and loyal donors.

4 – Keep It Simple

When crafting your appeals, use an image that shows a client close-up. Group pictures are overwhelming- how can they help that many people?

Let your donors identify with that one client and fix something for them.

When asking for money, ask for a specific amount.

The point is- make it easy.

5 – Gratitude

Thank your donors. Thank your donors. Thank your donors.

Thank them so they understand the impact they’ve made on your organization.

Connect with them in a way that invites ongoing connection-  the more personal, the better.

This is not the place for a mass email.

Sincere gratitude and appreciation are much more likely to lead to future gifts.

6 - Consistency

Do you have an ongoing plan in place for communicating with your donors?

Emailing them at least once a month?

Recent client updates and impact stories keep you fresh in the donors’ minds.

It’s your responsibility to steward the relationship and provide more opportunities for them to help. 

Every New Donor Is a VIP.

Treat them with the love they need and deserve- and create a meaningful, mutually beneficial, long-term relationship.