pexels-photo-914931It takes much less time, money and effort to keep your existing donors than it does to find and recruit new ones to your cause. It’s also much easier to encourage an existing donor to continue to give to your organisation than it does to get someone unfamiliar with your NFP to give to your cause for the very first time! That’s why it’s crucial for your NFP to design and implement an effective donor retention strategy!

The following is a list of 7 common mistakes made by nonprofits that turn donors off. We’ve also included a few tips to help you turn these errors around and use them to improve donor loyalty and engagement.

Forget to Use Their Name

Most software makes it relatively simple to personalise your mailing lists so that greetings show your donor’s actual name instead of their title or other generic opener. Wherever possible, use your donor’s first name in your correspondence to emphasise their connection to your cause and encourage them to feel like part of your team!

Neglect to Say Thanks

Do you automatically assume that your donors know that you appreciate their contributions, or, do you make an effort to show your gratitude? Always thank your donors for their support. In addition to any automatic thanks that’s given online at the time of a donation, send handwritten notes, make a phone call, or find another tangible way to show your appreciation if you want to keep your donors happy.

Fail to Get to Know Your Donors on a Personal Level

Are you counting solely on direct mail, social media ads and your NFP newsletter for fundraising and neglecting to take the time to get to know your donors and connect with them as people? Research has shown that nearly every one of us is more likely to give to causes where we feel a personal connection. Therefore, brush up on those people skills and work on connecting with others in meaningful ways! Host in-person events and offer donors personal access to you and your nonprofit. Take the time to meet with your donors in person. Make telephone calls to stay in touch with them and build real relationships so they know that you genuinely value their contributions.

Forget to Show Impact

Do your donors understand just what’s at stake, and, how their donations directly impact your cause? One way to alienate your donors is to simply report the results of your fundraising efforts without providing additional details that illustrate precisely how their contributions make a difference. Try to explain the impact in very tangible, human interest terms so that your donors gain a better understanding of who is helped by their donations, and how giving at specific levels advances the mission forward.

Asking for Money Too Often or For Too Much

Communicating with donors only to ask them for money, or, asking them for amounts that are too large is a sure-fire way to drive them away from your cause. Look for ways to start conversations around subjects that aren’t directly tied to fundraising. Use newsletters and other correspondence to keep your donors updated on the progress you are making and help them stay informed on breaking news that affect your cause and the work that you are doing in your community. Use segmentation to customise messaging and fundraising appeals so that you don’t ask for donations too frequently or ask for amounts that are out of your donor’s budget.

Forgetting to Include a Clear Call to Action

Whenever you create a post, send an email, Tweet or otherwise communicate with your donors, you must have a specific purpose and an action that you would like them to complete for you. While you may want them to donate to your cause, you may also need support in other ways, such as wanting them to share your posts and other stories or to advocate on behalf of the community. Many times, nonprofits create and send great content, but neglect to include a clear call to action for their supporters. They fail to tell their donors and others what specific help they need, and frequently hide buttons that make donating or sharing on social media a simple process. Always include a clear call to action in your newsletters, direct appeals, blog articles and posts on social media. Create prominent buttons that simplify the act of donating.

Make it Difficult to Give

Do your donors find it easy to give to your organisation? If they don’t, chances are they will change their minds and give to someone else that makes it simple to donate. Donors want to make a difference, but just like the rest of us, they lead busy lives. They are easily distracted. So, make it easy for them to give. Accept multiple forms of payment that make it straightforward to give when the mood strikes them. Simplify your donation forms so that giving is a fast process! Allow your donors to sign up for automatic deductions for recurrent gifts so that they can “set it and forget it” and give a regular monthly amount without having to do any further work.

The more that you focus on learning your donors’ preferences, meeting their needs and showing your appreciation, the more likely you are to inspire greater involvement and loyalty from your existing supporters!