What is Donor Engagement?

Not all donors are created equal.

Imagine you have two donors who each give $100. However, one volunteers regularly, never misses opening an email and brought other supporters to your organization. Will you communicate to both donors the same way?

If you aren’t measuring donor engagement, you might have to.

Donor engagement is a measure of all of the things that make up a complete donor profile, beyond just gift size and superficial demographic information. And it can be one of the most powerful data point in a fundraisers toolkit.

Donor Engagement Factors

There are many signals that a donor can send that show their true level of engagement with your nonprofit organization. Some are cries for help: signals that donors are becoming disinterested or disenchanted with your organization, while others are beacons of what could be a lifelong relationship. Unfortunately, these seemingly innocuous signals can go unnoticed by fundraisers, causing them to miss out on opportunities for meaningful interaction.

Below are examples of potential donor engagement signals that fundraisers should be on the lookout for:

  • Recency/pattern of giving
  • Years given
  • Cash/check donor
  • ACH/credit card on file
  • Recent upgrade or downgrade
  • Lapsed
  • Events attended
  • Hours volunteered
  • Has soft credits
  • Has stated communication preference
  • Responds to a survey
  • Website visits
  • Subscribes to emails
  • Opens emails
  • Clicks emails
  • Unsubscribes from emails
  • Follows on social media
  • Interacts on social media


How Measuring Donor Engagement Can Empower You

Being aware and on the lookout for donor engagement signals – while having a donor database that can capture and visualize them along with other constituent information – allows fundraisers to take action on an individual level.

Below are just a few of the opportunities that are possible as a result of measuring donor engagement:

  • Segment and Report – go beyond the traditional donor pyramid by dividing your donor database into meaningful and actionable segments.
  • Differentiate Communications – your acknowledgements and solicitations should speak to people in different ways.
  • Identify Potential Major Donors – donors with high engagement levels and a long history of giving are your best major gift prospects.
  • Identify Potential Volunteers, Influencers and Advocates – those with limited financial means may be able to support you in other ways.
  • Head Off Potential Lapses – if you see their engagement rate is low, you can act before attrition sets in.
  • Measure Your Progress – what gets measured gets improved upon. If you don’t know how engaged your donors are, how can you increase their engagement?

See How Bloomerang Can Help You Measure Donor Engagement

Bloomerang’s Constituent Giving Summary includes our proprietary Engagement Level™, whose algorithm was designed by legendary fundraising expert Dr. Adrian Sargeant.

It gives an at-a-glance view of an individual constituent’s engagement level. Every interaction that is inputted into Bloomerang automatically adjusts their engagement level, which is measured in “cold,” “warm,” “hot,” and “on fire!”


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