Donor loyalty takes time and effort, but it's essential

A good grasp of the basics of relationship building is the place to start.

Donor loyalty should be valued by non-profit organizations. There is always room for getting new donors, but what about the ones who have been donating all along or have donated in the past? You can’t just let them slip by, can you? It is reported that 60 percent of donors disappear after their first contribution, never to return for another.

Those with loyal behaviours usually believe in the ideology the organization stands for, and they have trust built. It is the occasional donors that you need to bring on board and have them returning. In the long-term, 10 percent of these donors can generate 200 percent return in the organization’s operational life.

How to ensure the donor retention? Read on …

Craft a killer message

The impact of crafting a compelling message can’t be argued. So to increase donor loyalty and to attract new donors, work on your message. It usually comes down to your organization’s vision and mission statements.

Exercise care as to what message you intend to portray. It speaks a lot about your objective and/or goals in the near future. Donors, if not convinced, will consider your statements as just another piece of text with no meaning attached to it. Poetically put, breathe some soul into your message.

Donors must be able to tell by reading your message how their money is going to be channelized in making the proposed difference. Your cause should be able to resonate with that of the donor. And if it is compelling enough, congratulations … you have found in him a donor who’s coming back!

Trust

We have talked about trust, but let’s see it from another angle. In other words, how do you establish trust with your donor? Start by being transparent. Share authentic stats, information and data if a donor expresses interest in reviewing documental evidence or simply wishes to check your organization’s credibility.

You can also seek to have your organization vetted by a neutral but reputable third party. Such endorsements help a great deal. Or you can get a renowned figure on board from your niche/industry to say a few words on how satisfactory the proceedings are at your organization – another form of endorsement. Lastly, you can follow up or send a personalized thank-you note saying how their money has helped shape the future.

Don’t complicate loyalty

Loyalty should not come at a cost. For instance, the procedure to donate should be seamless, and all payment methods should be available. You cannot place a restriction, for example, that you only deal in payments made via check. This puts those seeking to donate cash or via credit card/online at a disadvantage.

Also, as previously mentioned, follow-up and thank them for their contribution and implore them to donate again. Remind them through email of the cause and cases that their donation can help change for better. If you maintain a website, ensure its optimal functionality.

Focus on relationship building

Think long-term instead of a one-time gain in the form of a donation. That can only be achieved via a good and healthy relationship with your donors. To etch your name on their hearts, offer promotions, newsletters and videos to equip them more about your cause and all the latest happenings.

Interact and engage as much as you can. This will serve as a brand recall. And brand recall is needed not just in the corporate sector but equally in the non-profit businesses. Host events and share real-time activity in the form of charts and/or graphs where they can see how their contributions are bridging the gap.

Since this is all meant for donor retention, enrich their experience as much as you can. The relationship-building exercise will translate into ROI, but you will have to be patient and give it time.