In one of my last posts, I listed eight reasons why donors attrition, based on some research we’ve done in the area of donor retention. This is such a huge issue for nonprofits—did you know that, according to the 2012 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey by Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), 59% of donors attrition each year?
This means that six out of ten donors who gave money to an organization the previous year did not donate again the following year. Here are some of their top reasons:
They’re no longer able to afford the support.
They have no memory of ever supporting an organization.
They were asked for inappropriate amounts (too much or too little).
They felt that other causes are more deserving.
They heard or read something that rubbed them the wrong way.
They weren’t asked to give again. (This is a common reason.)
They weren’t informed how their gift was used.
They felt a lack of connection with an organization.
So, we know a little about why donors leave. Now we need to figure out how to build a donor retention plan that keeps us in touch with these donors so that we can follow up with them. What kind of donor management tool do we need that will help us understand how to stay on top of this? First, it should be very focused on donor retention and helping us keep the donors we already have. The tool that I recommend has the following components.
A dashboard with some kind of constituent intelligence built in that allows you to understand how constituents are engaged with your organization. We shouldn’t have to go figure this out on our own—a good donor management tool will tell us. For example, if somebody is connecting with us on Facebook, that’s engagement. If they give us a donation, that’s engagement. If they respond to a thank-you note that we send out via email, that’s engagement. A good tool will measure that constituent engagement automatically.
It should have email communication built right into the system so that we can send out our emails and communicate with constituents through the system. And, of course, also have a really good reporting tool.
It should be cloud-based. A good tool shouldn’t be something you install in one computer in the corner office, and that’s the only place to access it. If everyone can access it and it’s simple to use, then it will get used. If it’s locked up on a machine somewhere in the office, then we know exactly what happens—people sit down with this crinkled up look on their face and think, I have to do some database updates. And it’s a chore. But if we have access to it on our laptop at home, on our iPad—wherever we might be—it changes the way we interact with it.
At Firespring, the tool that we believe is easiest to use and has the most impact is one called Bloomerang, and we’re really excited about what it can do. In fact, we’re working with Bloomerang to make sure we integrate this tool into all the things we do at Firespring—we think it’s that great. This tool is basically a cloud-based donor management system designed to help nonprofits reach, engage and, most importantly, keep their donors. You can learn more about it here.