There’s a lot being written about donor retention – why it’s important and how to increase it – and even more data on the averages within the nonprofit sector. We, however, were wondering what the real pursuit of donor retention looks like among boots-on-the-ground fundraisers.

Recently, we surveyed 775 nonprofit organizations (mostly in the U.S. and Canada) to see where they stand on the issue of donor retention. The results of the survey can be found in the infographic below:

The Data

  • 99% of respondents are familiar with the term “donor retention” – up from 98% in 2014*
  • 67% of respondents are tracking their donor retention rate – up from 55% in 2014*
    • 68% of that group has seen an increase in the past year – up from 43% in 2014
    • 32% of that group has seen a decrease in the past year – up from 16% in 2014
  • Of those who are tracking their donor retention rate:
    • 36% have a specific % goal for their rate
    • 36% have a goal of any increase to their rate
    • 28% don’t really have a donor retention goal
  • Of those who aren’t tracking their donor retention rate:
    • 16% don’t know how
    • 20% don’t have the tools
    • 1% don’t care about the metric
    • 14% aren’t sure what they would do differently if they knew their rate
    • 13% cited the fact that no one has ever asked to see it
    • 36% listed “other” as a reason with the option to write in – typical comments included:
      • we are starting soon
      • we don’t have the headcount
      • we are going through organizational changes or have experienced staff turnover
      • we are new and don’t have a donor base yet

* we conduced this same survey in 2014

What about you? How much focus are you putting on donor retention this year? Let us know in the comments below.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.