Published on September 5, 2013 by

Thoughts about retention

Some fantastic speakers after the first day at the Fundraising & Philanthropy Forum.

First up I wanted to share with you some thoughts from Martin Paul (from More Strategic) about retention.

Here's what he said:

1. Take retention seriously. Charities are obsessed with getting more donors and spend a fortune acquiring them. But what we spend on retention - keeping the relationship alive - is miniscule.

2. Acquisition is expensive and unpredictable... And the real measure of successful acquisition is how many donors you keep after 5 years.

Well, that blows away short-term thinking on ROI.

3. Donor engagement is not just about giving.

It's about getting donors advocating, participating, influencing, their attitude towards your charity, attendance at your events, volunteering, consumption of your communications, passion for your cause and commitment to your specific charity.

In other words, it's not just about RFM, the traditional recency, frequency and monetary value model.

Does your charity measure these other kinds of donor interactions? And their impact not just on income and response rates but life time value?

4. We look at what people give but not WHY they give

We know that people give because they were asked. But it appears the public don't like to think this. They like to think they're altruistic and caring and that they don't need to be asked. They like to think they chose to donate to you.

In other words, the donor likes to feel in control.

5. If you can secure the second gift within three months, you are much more likely to get the third, fourth, fifth, etc.

So what does your welcome and nurture strategy for new donors look like?

6. The one secret ingredient missing in fundraising is listening. How can you listen to your donors more?

Martin also referred to the results of a donor survey involving several charities. It found that:

7. People said they cancelled their regular giving because they were cutting back on all their charitable giving.

But note: a lot of people don't tell the truth about why they cancel. Donors don't like to say it's because they're annoyed or bored with you. It seems nicer to say they're cutting back on all their giving.

8. Over half of new regular or monthly givers say they're already regularly giving to somebody else.

How much harder does that mean you have to work to ensure you're the charity they keep when they want to "cut back on charitable giving" because of a "change in circumstances"?

9. Donors give in response to emotion in your communications. But they stay because of a values-based connection with you.

The greatest predictor of retention is passion. Those donors who say they give because:

  • they're really passionate about your mission
  • your charity is the most important cause they give to
  • giving to you is a part of who they are.

So think about how your charity can find more of these kinds of people.

10. People who made second gift did more of everything else - advocating, influencing, reading your comms, volunteering, attending events.

But the downside of being more charitable is other non-profits find out about them and hit them up for gifts.

11. Donors feel a lot of charities do the same kind of work. That there's no real point of difference between World Vision, Oxfam, UNICEF, Plan, etc.

Now think about this. Your charity by itself may not be asking for gifts too often if you have a schedule of 4-6 appeals/ newsletters a year.

But many donors give to multiple charities. Indeed, these donors may well be your best donors. But if they are not differentiating between specific charities then donors do feel as if they're getting asked too much.

So although no individual charity asks too often, we, as a sector, are asking too much.

How will you make your charity stand out? What will be your point of difference? Will it be your outcomes, your values or how you engage with your donor?

12. About 60% of cancelling regular donors have been thinking about cancelling for more than a few weeks. This creates a window of opportunity to rescue them.

13. Engaging with emails was a stronger indication of second giving than newsletter readership.

I find this is interesting given recent research that shows email is declining as a giving channel with lower open and click through rates.

14. Someone who tells you they changed their address is 5 times more likely to leave you a bequest.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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