The leaky bucket of donor retention

I was reminded of a great fundraising analogy recently by the folks at the Agitator, a daily email list for fundraisers. It is the idea of your fundraising as a leaky bucket. Let me explain:

As I discuss in the video above, pouring water into your bucket is your donor acquisition. The water flowing through the holes in the bucket is your churn, or loss of donors each year. Some holes are bigger than others. The hole for first time donors is really large. In fact, for many orgs, 9 out of every 10 first time donors never give again. That's a big hole! 

For other groups of donors, such as longtime donors that die, or multi-year givers that move on, that hole might be smaller. There are holes all over and the faster you fill the bucket, the faster it leaks. You keep working hard to fill the bucket but you're just treading water -- to mix my metaphors. 

Time to plug the leaks!  

When I think about the massive resources spent on donor acquisition, only to let those donors leak away, it hurts my heart. Really. We can do better!

The answer is pretty simple. Treat your donors like people, not names on a file. And to make that concept more concrete, the team at Gather Voices is offering a turnkey donor retention program that gives you some simple steps that will lead to increased donor retention rates.

With Gather Voices -- the system that makes it easy to collect and share user-generated video content - you can plug many of the holes in your leaky bucket. And they will show you how

Here's the thing to keep in mind: imagine an organization that raises $5 million and has industry average donor retention rates. A 1% improvement in donor retention is worth $186,000!  When you plug the leaks, your gains compound. It's like magic.

To learn more about the Gather Voices Donor Retention Program, join the webinar next Wednesday (or, if you can't make it, register, and we'll send you more information after).

Author: Michael Hoffman
  • Fundraising
  • nonprofit fundraising
  • nonprofit marketing
  • Nonprofits
  • donor
  • donor retention
  • Donors
  • donor acquisition
  • Gather Voices
  • Webinar
  • communications
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