It’s Time for You to Evaluate Donor Retention For the Past Year

Hiding to not evaluate donor retentionIt’s early March, which means your end-of-year appeal numbers should be in your system. Now, it’s time to evaluate donor retention rates. In addition to focusing on how much you your end-of-year appeal raised for annual funds, it’s time to dig a bit deeper. Do you know the:

  1. Number of PYBUNTs
  2. Number of donors who increased their gifts from the previous year.
  3. Number of donors who decreased their gift from the previous year
  4. How you are going to treat each of the above three categories

Remember, acknowledging your problem is the first step towards healing.

In this case, qualitative data will help you find your areas of weakness or, put in a better light, the areas where you can improve your annual fund.

Then, it’s time to look and see what caused the changes. Possibilities include:

  • Number or quality of asks
  • email follow ups
  • personalization
  • stewardship
  • timing (got out late)
  • change in confidence in the organization
  • it feels rote to donors
  • no annual appeal calendar
  • you forgot that their giving is optional
  • no relationship building occurred
  • You waited until march to consider last year’s numbers (course correction can happen if you look at your numbers monthly)
  • Focus is on the reasons the organization needs your funding vs the reasons the donor will want to donate
  • Fewer than 7 acknowledgements
  • _____________ Fill in the blank

Now, it’s time to start healing. Start a list of 3 ways you can make impactful change this year. Then, list who will be in charge of implementing each improvement, how it will be paid for (if it incurs additional cost), and where this will be in your ever-growing list of priorities.

If it’s time to get professional help for your donor retention or any aspect of your annual fundraising and development program, email me by clicking here.