Satellite dishes

In this era of falling donor retention rates, it’s no surprise that incoming donor engagement signals are often missed or ignored. After all, relationship-building is the very foundation of donor engagement and retention.

But why are so many of these signals ignored? Could it be that there is too much focus on donor acquisition? Maybe after reviewing the signals outlined here you can comment below on why many of them are being ignored.

I will try to list the most obvious ones first then lead down to some of the less obvious, but perhaps equally important signals.

Without further ado, please join our other readers is seeing how many of these your organization does perhaps accidentally ignore. Caution: you might want to peruse these on an empty stomach!

  1. A first gift above your average donation amount
  2. A first gift below your average amount
  3. A donor increases their annual fund gift
  4. A lapsed donor returning with a gift of any amount
  5. A person fills a table or a foursome with guests at your event
  6. A person secures multiple sponsors for their participation in your event
  7. A donor informs you their mailing address has changed
  8. A donor informs you their email address has changed
  9. A person volunteers once
  10. A person volunteers multiple times
  11. A person visits your office for information about your mission
  12. A person calls your office for information about your mission
  13. A person asks about your mission via your web site
  14. A person “likes” or “links” to you via social media
  15. A person signs up for your newsletter
  16. A person regularly opens your e-newsletter
  17. A person forwards your e-newsletter to others
  18. A person signs a petition having to do with your mission
  19. A person purchases an auction item at your event
  20. A person attends one of your events as a guest of a donor

I am sure many of you can think of 20 more such signals.

Here are a few questions to ask in your next staff meeting:

  • If many of the above signals are being accidentally ignored, should your team decide how and when to act on such signals?
  • How many of them should require some sort of personal action by a member of your team or a trusted volunteer?
  • Could some sort of personal action or follow-up lead to long-term engagement?
  • Should we track such engagement signals in some manner?

My hope is that a majority of you reading this blog post, who are active in fundraising, will find a way to respond to most or all of these lost signals. Such action will have a positive impact on your donor and prospect engagement. I am also quite sure you will see a rise in your organization’s donor retention rate if personal follow-up is involved with most of these signals!

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Jay Love

Jay Love

Co-Founder & Chief Relationship Officer at Bloomerang
A 30+ veteran of the nonprofit software industry, Jay Love co-founded Bloomerang in 2012. Prior to Bloomerang, he was the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry for 11 years, which at the time was the leading SaaS technology company serving the charity sector. Jay and his team grew the company to more than 10,000 nonprofit clients, charting a decade of record growth. Prior to starting eTapestry, Jay served 14 years as President and CEO of Master Software Corporation. MSC provided a widely used family of database products for the non-profit sector called Fund-Master. He currently serves on the board of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and is the past AFP Ethics Committee Chairman. Jay is also the author of Stay Together: How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty.