Donor Retention

Donor Welcome Kits: Like a Warm Loaf of Homemade Bread

A few weeks ago, Russell, my husband, and I visited a new church. As we were leaving the church, a church member gave us with a loaf of homemade bread.

What a nice welcome gift--nourishing, tasty, symbolic, thoughtful. It also served as an ice-breaker. Someone walked up to us and handed us the bread and struck up a conversation. This church did a great job of extending hospitality. We felt welcome.

That's what you want your donor to feel—like you've just handed them a loaf of warm, homemade bread and told them you are really glad they showed up on a cold, rainy Sunday morning.

The More You Raise The Better You Raise

With the publication of the 2015 Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP), many of us have reflected on the continued bad news about donor retention rates and what to be done about those. I notice within the FEP report, a really interesting fact that I think we, as fundraisers, should unpack.  The more you raise, the more you raise.

This might sound tautological.  Maybe it is.  But maybe it isn’t.

The report notes:

  • Those organizations that raise less than $100,000/year actually lose money (when their donor losses are reflected): - 7.8%
  • Those organizations that raise more than $100,000 but less than $500,000 actually have a growth rate of 3.1%.
  • Those organizations that raise more than $500,000 are the most efficient fundraisers. Their growth rate is 10.4%.

Rule of 7

Rule of 7

Early in my career, the first time I had the opportunity to interview candidates to hire a team member—a development coordinator, expanding my team—I was incredibly excited. The first candidate came to visit and talked about how her organization had figured out 7 ways to thank each of their donors. The second candidate talked about how many times they thanked their donors. The third candidate proudly reported about how they thanked all their donors 7 times.