Fighting donor attrition after the holidays

For all the efforts you made in bringing donors into your organization this holiday season, you're probably wondering, is it worth it? Are the amount of money you raise and people you enroll enough to help you grow? Or does it feel like you didn't receive all that much money despite a lot of new people delivering funds to you?

How many people donated this holiday season? How many didn't?

Those are quite a few questions, so I'll just say yes to all of them.

Well, let's be a little more concise by posing a single question: Have you earned more donors and money than you have lost this past holiday season?

I can't say for sure. We got a lot more donors this year, but the amount we lost is hard to measure.

You may be facing a major problem with donor attrition, then. This is something that nonprofit CRM software can address. Attrition, or the loss of donations and lapse of donors, remains one of the most significant issues in nonprofit fundraising today. The Association of Fundraising Professionals, in conjunction with the Urban Institute, released its annual Fundraising Effectiveness Project report. According to the 2014 survey, while nonprofits were able to raise $106 million more in donations in 2013, every $100 received in new and current donations was offset by $92 in losses through gift attrition. In addition, there was a decline in the number of donors to the point that every 100 new donors was offset by 102 supporters lost through attrition.

Wow! That means there's barely any money coming in, and we would be bleeding out donors! Except, I don't know if we're doing that. Still, how does this happen?

The two most common causes of gift attrition pointed out in the AFP report are donors reducing their regular donations or ceasing to send repeat donations. As for the loss of donors, the most common problem was being unable to retain new donors after the initial gift.

Those seem hard to fix, though. What can I do to address them?

Responsive engagement is one way of addressing these problems . Contributions Magazine suggested that once you receive a donation, you should not only get the donor into your database as soon as possible, but you should also deliver a thank-you note or a welcome message to your mailing list. You should conduct surveys on how effectively donors feel your organization is fulfilling  its mission. By receiving feedback and making adjustments based on suggestions, you create an incentive for these donors to keep giving on a regular basis at the same or increased rates. Finally, sometimes you should reach out to supporters directly if you haven't heard from them in a while, just to check in.

Another thing to consider is that sometimes, donors may move elsewhere or misplace their donor information. Keeping your database up-to-date with clean data can mean that there's less of a chance of donors lapsing because of lost information. With CRM software for nonprofits, you can handle all of this important information effectively by keeping everything a supporter has contributed, from donation history to personal feedback, in one profile.

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This entry was posted on Monday, December 29th, 2014 at 9:25 am and is filed under Online Fundraising. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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