It’s no secret that the state of nonprofit donor retention isn’t looking too good.

Our friends at Pursuant have created an infographic that charts the five most alarming donor retention trends, as well as five steps to reverse them.


For more free resources from Pursuant, check out “Gift Officer Accountability: Where to Start?” and “In the Mind of the Donor: Changing Retention Realities Through Strategic Stewardship.

So what can you do to improve your retention rates? Here are five steps:

  1. Measure Your Current Donor Retention Rates. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Develop a report that examines your ability to retain donors over the past three years. Identify how many donors have given every year. Measure the average retention rates for the various levels of giving. This will help you identify any donor levels that need particular focus as you develop your overall strategy.
  2. Develop an Intentional Stewardship Strategy. Did you know that a simple “thank you” call can boost donor retention by 25%? Developing an intentional strategy for making sure donors are properly thanked, engaged, and stewarded is essential for improving retention.
  3. Get in the Habit of Examining Your Portfolio. Examine your portfolio of donors every 3-6 months. Are your donors upgrading or downgrading? Do you have a reasonable portfolio size you can effectively manage? A full-time major gift officer should have a portfolio of no more than 150 donors.
  4. Establish Specific Goals and Plans for Your Donors. You can’t achieve your goals without a plan to engage donors with a targeted gift amount. This simple step makes a difference in both your short-term goals and your long-term impact. Improving your donor retention rates by 10% can increase the lifetime value of your donor base up to 200%.
  5. Measure Your Success. Success demands accountability. Evaluating data is the only way to adjust your strategy and improve your results in the future.

How are you tackling the retention problem? Let us know in the comments below!

Stay Together - How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty

Amy Sermersheim
Amy Sermersheim is an Account Executive at Bloomerang.