Steven: Hey, there. Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode of
Bloomerang TV. My name is Steven, and I’m the VP of Marketing over at
I’m really excited to introduce our guest today. He is Roger
Craver. He’s the editor of The Agitator. He’s an author, he’s a
writer, and he’s a veteran of the nonprofit sector.
Roger, thanks so much for being here.
Roger: Hey, Steven, it’s a pleasure.
Steven: You obviously write for The Agitator. You put out really great
content. You’ve also been working on a book about donor
retention. Can you talk a little bit about that book and things
you’re up to these days?
Roger: Yeah, over the last three years, we’ve conducted a study of
about a little more than 250 nonprofits in the United States,
Canada and the United Kingdom to find out why people leave and
what organizations can do to keep them, because as you know,
since Bloomerang is big in this field, retention is a real big
problem. In fact, I think for most nonprofits, it’s probably the
biggest problem they face.
Most organizations think that acquisition of new donors is the
most important, but it doesn’t do much good to spend a lot of
money bringing in new donors when they’re pouring out by the
bucket full. They can’t be retained, and that’s a real problem.
In United States, only about 42% of the donors stay with an
organization over a multiple year period, and that’s a great big
waste of money.
I’ve written a book called Retention Fundraising: The New Art
and Science of Keeping Your Donors for Life, and the purpose of
this book is to show folks that there is an empirical data based
way of improving retention.
Up until recently, most people considered retention to be sort
of a best practices, tribal wisdom type of approach. We should
do thank you notes, we should do it on pink paper, and we should
do it quickly, whatever. An awful lot of myth and old wives
tales, and none of it based on any type of empirical data.
With this book, there are a series of formulas, there are a
series of approaches; we’ve identified why donors leave and
we’ve identified what donors need to stay. The interesting
thing, Steven, is that all of the retention problems except
death are controllable by the organization itself. It’s not the
donors who determine this, it’s the organization’s actions that
determine the donor’s attitude, and in turn, the donor’s
attitude determines the donor’s behavior.
So this is the one thing that an organization can absolutely
control. They can’t blame it on the economy, they can’t blame it
on competition from other nonprofits. This is entirely within
Steven: So you’re collecting all this data, you’re writing about it.
Obviously, groups like FEP and the