Ways to Increase Donor Loyalty (Tips + Metrics)

Ways to Increase Donor Loyalty (Tips + Metrics)

donor loyalty

Donor loyalty is the ideal all nonprofits are looking for, but our actions often do not encourage it. Donors are loyal to nonprofits they trust and admire, and they show that loyalty in different ways. Nonprofits can inspire more loyalty with greater communication and strategies that target and treat donors and individuals alike.

This article provides tips to increase donor loyalty and ways to track your nonprofit’s efforts.

  1. Difference between Donor Retention and Donor Loyalty
  2. 8 Tips and Best Practices to Increase Donor Loyalty
  3. 6 Donor Loyalty Metrics Every Nonprofit Should Track

Difference between Donor Retention and Donor Loyalty

donor loyalty

The primary difference between donor loyalty and donor retention is which side you are on. While retention becomes an effort on the nonprofits’ end, loyalty can only come from donors. But then again, donor loyalty won’t come unless there’s an effort from the nonprofit.

Like any relationship, building donor loyalty only happens when nonprofits treat donors as individuals. As you learn more about each donor’s needs and interests, your communication with that donor has better results. Donors begin to feel their concerns and ideas are being heard and become more interested and involved with the organization. Donors who are loyal do more than just give money. They’re often your best volunteers and advocates. Such donors are not just retained but they’re loyal to you for good.


8 Tips and Best Practices to Increase Donor Loyalty

donor loyalty

There are steps nonprofits can take to encourage donor loyalty. While any nonprofit can follow the following tips, they will build genuine relationships only when both sides are involved and adapt to each others’ needs. When creating a donor loyalty program, it is best to make it unique to your organization and individual donors.

  1. Connect with donors emotionally
  2. Get feedback
  3. Have a donor loyalty program
  4. Make donor loyalty easy
  5. Focus on creating a relationship right from the start
  6. Practice personalized communication
  7. Give donors a reason to be loyal
  8. Show your appreciation


1. Connect with donors emotionally

The best way to connect with donors is through storytelling. Regardless of what your nonprofit does, there are stories you can tell of how your nonprofit has impacted lives and made a difference in the community.

These stories should be as personal as possible. If your organization works with people, your fundraisers often listen and interact with them. Nonprofits who do not work with people directly should speak with donors and learn why they give. Stories from donors can be just as emotional and inspiring.

Pro tip: When telling this story, keep it about the donors and the people you are helping. Nonprofits who only speak from the organization’s perspective will lose the ability to connect with donors.


2. Get feedback

Feedback from donors, volunteers, and beneficiaries is priceless. Donors and volunteers can tell you why they are giving money and time. Beneficiaries can share the good your organization has done. By getting each of these groups’ feedback, you’re building trust and encouraging involvement.

Here are some of the ways your organization can get feedback:

  • Questionnaires sent by email or on social media
  • Phone calls with donors who have given in the past
  • Face to face meetings with major donors
  • Include a request for feedback on your donation form
  • Research yourself on the web


3. Have a donor loyalty program

donor loyalty program

As your nonprofit works to build and strengthen relationships with donors, it is best to create a donor loyalty program. A donor loyalty program involves strategies, a calendar, activities, and communication you take with each donor. Nonprofits can do this through moves management practices.

Through this system, nonprofits can create unique goals and plans for each donor. As your relationship with each donor grows, you will have more information on the donor’s interests and ability to give. You can add this information to your donor database and adapt the loyalty plan to work for each individual.


4. Make donor loyalty easy

We made it clear that donor loyalty is your donors’ perspective, not yours. Donors are loyal for various reasons. For one, donors who find it difficult to donate to your organization are less likely to give again.

4.1 Easy online giving

Nonprofits should make donating to their organizations easier. Adding online donation pages and recurring forms to your website is essential for ensuring a long-term relationship. Many donors would rather give online than by check or cash because of convenience and payment security.

Healthcare for the Homeless Houston can be a great example for you. Their donation page is visually appealing, has a simple but effective recurring donation form, and includes stats that elicit donors’ emotions and build trust.

tactics for building donor loyalty

4.2 Peer-to-peer campaigns

Another way your nonprofit can encourage donations is by giving donors a way to spread the word about your organization. Thanks to peer-to-peer campaigns, donors can show their loyalty by sharing their stories and collecting funds through these online campaigns. Nonprofits can support donors’ efforts by communicating updates on the organization’s programs, pictures, and success stories.

Donorbox’s peer-to-peer fundraising feature can help you invite your donors and volunteers to fundraise for you. Each of your fundraisers will get a customizable fundraising page with exciting add-ons. And all donations will come to your original campaign account. Know more about Donorbox peer-to-peer fundraising here.


5. Focus on creating a relationship right from the start

donor loyalty program

Nonprofits should focus on building relationships right from the beginning. One of the best ways to do this is through a donor welcome series.

Nonprofits can create and send a series of emails to donors who give for the first time. In these emails, your nonprofit can share more information on the organization’s mission and the programs making an impact. Your nonprofit can also share the different ways donors can support your organization.

Well-managed donor relations are the key to successful fundraising and donor loyalty. This Donorbox pro-tip video will help you achieve that with effective donor relationship management.



6. Practice personalized communication

The first step to establishing donor loyalty is to learn what interests them and drives their involvement. Nonprofits can increase donor loyalty by personalizing communication and giving donors the information they care most about.

One of the best ways to do this with all donors is by segmenting them within your donor database. Here are a few questions you should ask your donors:

  • When and how did they first donate or find the organization?
  • How often do they give?
  • What appeals drive their donations?

With Donorbox’s donor management system, nonprofits can collect vital information, add it to the donor database, and easily segment donors by using filters. You can also integrate with Mailchimp for great donor communications.


7. Give donors a reason to be loyal

In addition to personalizing communication with donors, nonprofits can encourage donor loyalty by creating a membership program. Nonprofits create membership programs to drive recurring donations and long-term participation. Membership programs include perks like member-only events or in-depth information and updates.

Pro tip: Create different membership levels depending upon your donor segmentation. Each group of donors is different and they should be targeted with different levels of membership.


8. Show your appreciation

One of the simplest ways to encourage donor loyalty is to thank them for their gifts. Nonprofits must send acknowledgment receipts for every donation, but that should not be the only thanks donors receive. Organizations can also send personal thank you notes, add donor walls to their websites, and offer gifts to show their appreciation.


6 Donor Loyalty Metrics Every Nonprofit Should Track

donor loyalty metrics

As you collect more information on your donors and add them to your donor database, you should track specific metrics to see how well your efforts are doing.


1. Donor loss

Nonprofits should keep track of the number and percentage of donors lost in a year. When collecting this information, it is essential to focus on the number of recurring donors lost in a year. This population can give your organization a realistic view of how donors feel about your nonprofit.


2. First-year donor retention

A donor may have given their first donation at an event. In many cases, they know little to nothing about the nonprofit and are less likely to give again. But donors who give a second time have shown interest in your organization and show that your nonprofit has taken steps to build this relationship. If you have trouble hanging on to donors, this is an area you need to address.


3. Donor lifetime value

donor loyalty metrics

The amount a donor has given over the years is an excellent way to measure not only their loyalty but their ability to give. Donors may have given the organization a large amount, but your fundraising office may have missed this amount because it was spread out. Long-term donor information can be helpful when starting a planned donor loyalty program.


4. Donation frequency

If your nonprofit is having a recurring donor or membership program to increase regular donations, you need to check how frequently your recurring donors are giving. That says a lot about their loyalty and trust in your organization.


5. Exit polling

In addition to collecting donation details, nonprofits can also ask donors who have left the organization for more information. One way you can do this is by sending a survey on why they left the organization. You probably won’t get a response from most, but those who fill out the survey will provide you with vital answers that help address the problem.


6. Comments and shares on social media

A metric that many nonprofits may not be tracking is the response and share rate on their social media. This metric is one way to see how donors react to your posts and social media activities. Remember, writing a comment takes more time and effort and may show a more substantial interest in your organization.


Final Thoughts

Building and strengthening relationships with donors helps ensure more donor loyalty. Nonprofits can do this by creating strategies and unique goals for individual donors and donor levels. Through moves management techniques, continued communication, and tracking metrics, your nonprofit will better understand your donors’ loyalty to the organization.

Donorbox enables nonprofits to accept online donations, manage donors, and make effective communications. Our online donation processor is the most affordable option out there and offers additional fundraising tools and integrations that can help nonprofits raise more funds. Learn more about our features and learn tips and tricks for online fundraising.

Kristine Ensor is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience working with local and international nonprofits. As a nonprofit professional she has specialized in fundraising, marketing, event planning, volunteer management, and board development.

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