Any fundraiser will agree that keeping a first-time donor happy is cheaper than replacing that donor.
In fact, attracting and acquiring a new donor is about 7 times more expensive than keeping an existing donor.
Even if you’re not a math wiz, you can see that the surest way to positive net revenue is to prioritize retention over acquisition.
Top 10 Mistakes That Cause First-Time Donors to Leave
Give first-time donors an amazing experience, and they’ll stick around. Here are ten fixes to help you keep more donors.
1. Not saying thank you
This is something your mother taught you, so hopefully you’re already thanking donors.
If not, you’ll lose about 13% of your first-time donors according to Bloomerang.
2. Bragging about your organization instead of the donor
If you’re bragging to first-time donors about how great your organization is, you’re doing it wrong.
Supporters yearn for stories about people that are impacted by your cause. The against-all-odds cancer survivor, the tattered puppy who found her person.
3. Not personalizing your email message with at least their first name
When someone donates for the very first time (or anytime for that matter), they give you their first name.
Not using at least their first name to personalize your follow-up emails takes away from that great first impression you’re trying to make.
4. Sending the same exact fundraising emails to all donors
When you blast to your entire list with a fundraising email, you ignore each supporters unique relationship with your organization.
Of course thoughtfully crafting an email for each and every donor doesn’t make sense – it won’t scale. But you can craft messages for each donor segment.
5. Subjecting the donor to a horrible online experience
If your website isn’t mobile, or if you’re using CAPTCHAS on your donation page, you are literally throwing money out the window.
Not only that, you give potential donors a very good reason to support your competition.
6. Not asking donors why they gave
If you want to retain more donors, make sure you ask them the most important question:
What made you decide to give your first gift?
You can ask this in-person, on your donation thank you page, or in a short follow-up survey. You can then use their words when asking them to give a 2nd gift or better yet, become a reoccurring donor.
7. Not sharing impact stories
Donors give because they want to affirm their belief that they are an amazing human being. They want to change the world.
Don’t assume donors know the impact of their gift. Remind them again and again.
8. Not asking for a second gift
Donors give because it makes them feel great. If you feel like asking for a second gift is too pushy, rethink your approach.
9. Not telling the donor what’s next
The more your donor communication sets expectations and builds anticipation, the more likely supporters will stay with you for the long journey.
Each time a donor interacts with your organization, it’s your job to tell them what’s next.
10. Not fixing what’s broken with your donor retention strategy
You may not be making all the mistakes mentioned above, but chances are you’re making at least one mistake.
Regardless, you owe it to your donors to find out what’s broken and fix it.
Tack it to your cube
Tack this infographic (courtesy of Venngage Infographics) to your cube: