According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project1, average donor retention decreased from 50% to 43% between 2006 and 2014. This trend reflects a big challenge for non profits. Indeed, in 2013, Dr. Adrian Sargeant, then Professor of Fundraising at Indiana University, reported: “Over 70% of people … never come back and make another gift, so we’re caught on this treadmill where we have to spend lots of money on acquisition which most nonprofits lose money on anyway, just to stand still.”2
How to Increase Donor Retention
How can organizations get off this treadmill? The key is to build a relationship with the donor. This way, the donor feels connected to, and appreciated by, the non profit. Unfortunately, most nonprofits are not focusing enough on saying thank you. Organizations need to actively invest in donor appreciation. However, not every gift has the right impact on donor retention.
Terry Axelrod, CEO of Benevon, an organization focusing on sustainable funding for non-profit, says: “Instead of fancy baubles or plaques, find … personal ways to thank your donors and connect them to your mission.… By recognizing and honoring your donors this way, you will make lasting friends.”3
UC San Diego Using Custom Gifts
Monsoon has 30 years of experience making custom gifts that engage supporters. One of our clients is the UC San Diego’s Foundation Board. Recently, the Board wished to thank corporate donors who helped research projects, such as the Qualcomm and Kavli Institutes, come to life.
The Board wanted gifts to reflect the Foundation’s mission. They also wished to emphasize the vital role of private contributors in turning the University into one of the most prestigious global research institutions. Indeed, in 2014, the UC San Diego was ranked among the top 15 research universities worldwide. Thus, the Board sought a personal gift with a clear link to its goals.
The University opted for custom ties and scarves with UC San Diego branding. The silk ties and scarves were gold and dark blue to reflect UC San Diego colors. The logo and motto, “Let there be light” were also inscribed.
The design’s trident shapes echoed the UC San Diego Tritons’ athletic spirit. While no gift matches the corporate donors’ generosity, a custom gift is a kind gesture. Stylish reminders of how donations helped campus research centers, these gifts keep donors engaged.
In sum, around 67% of donors give the most to the cause to which they feel the most connected 4. 30% of donors even fundraise, at least once a year, on behalf of their main charity.
Is your organization ready to engage donors? Contact us now to discuss how Monsoon can help you increase donor retention and pride.