Donor loyalty for nonprofits is critical, as it costs much more to attain new donors than to keep those you already have.  

Despite this fact, many organizations still struggle to implement an effective retention strategy to keep their first-time supporters coming back. A nonprofit-donor relationship, like any other, needs to be built and maintained over time for it to last.

Follow these five steps to increase donor loyalty for your nonprofit! 

1. Build Trust

Building trust is a necessity for creating healthy, long-term relationships, which is what all of us want with our supporters.

You can build trust by doing the following things:

  • Send prompt and personal thank you messages or call them directly to thank them following a gift
  • Follow-up on how their gift made an impact and show that their money went where you said it would go
  • Keep them in the loop by sending them updates for new projects or advances being made for your cause

2. Express Shared Values

When you share similar values and beliefs with those who support you, they’ll be more invested in the work you’re doing.  Unless you communicate these values clearly and passionately through your general and direct messaging, your supporters may not believe you care as much as they do.

It should be obvious to outsiders looking in at your organization what you’re passionate about, why you’re passionate about it, and what you’re actively doing about it.  You can accomplish this through your storytelling efforts.

3. Put Donors First

The positive effects of putting your donors first can’t be sustained from only one or even a handful of instances.  Rather, you need to make this philosophy of stewardship an integral part of your organization’s shared culture. You can establish beliefs and behaviors that put donors first and increase the likelihood of their continued support.

Emphasize the importance of your supporters to the survival of your organization, so they know how critical they are.  If they don’t feel like they’re important or needed, they’ll think it’s not a big deal if they stop helping, which we all know isn’t true!

Learn more about how to make your donors feel like the heroes of your nonprofit’s story here

4. Offer a Personal Connection

Building a more personal bond means your supporters become invested in not only the cause you represent but the people behind it, too.

You can provide opportunities for a more personal connection by:

  • Extending an open invitation to visit you at the office or to see a project you’re working on
  • Inviting them to important events
  • Inviting them out for coffee as a thank you for their support
  • Calling to see how they’re doing or to follow-up on something personal they openly shared with you

5. Be Accommodating

When supporters say they don’t like being frequently contacted, make sure you take note of this.  Better yet, if you have a way to do so, segment your supporters into categories based on their preferences.

A quality investment for any nonprofit is to utilize donor management software or a CRM that lets you track supporter details, including preferences, that you can then find practical ways to accommodate.

Implement these steps into your nonprofit’s daily operations and see the quality of your relationships with donors begin to improve! 🙂 

More About Donor Retention

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