What is the #1 problem facing the United States’ nonprofit sector?

According to Adrian Sargeant, the answer is donor retention.

  • Conservative estimates suggest that if donor retention were increased by 10%, the nonprofit would benefit from a 50% increase in contributions received (over the lifetime).
  • Acquisition is more expensive than retention. It costs more to bring in a new donor than to keep a current donor. (The typical acquisition letter costs 1 dollar for every 50 cents raised!

If donor retention is so important, why do we act like it’s not?

  • We don’t call when we say we will.
  • When we do talk, we blabber on and on about ourselves.
  • We only write when we want something.
  • We don’t take their opinion or suggestions seriously.

We act like somebody trying to break up with a significant other; let’s call the whole thing off!

As suggested in other posts, fundraising is more than just money and asking for money; it’s about building relationships and partnerships. It’s about serving a respected role in the community – and respecting others’ roles!

For all my fellow nonprofit professionals, I encourage you – build relationships to last.

*This is the final post, reporting on the October 7th event, Trends in Fundraising. (It is part of the Small Shop Development Group, a series of regularly scheduled meetings sponsored by the Indiana Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.)