The Responsive Weekly Recap: Retaining 2020 Donors

The Responsive Weekly is a space where responsive nonprofit leaders can debate, discuss and brainstorm the most pressing topics. Each week, we curate a list of conversations, reports, podcasts, and more to deliver directly to your inbox.

Then, we spend 30 minutes meeting together over Zoom to discuss each topic, present new ideas, and provide success strategies for our community of responsive fundraisers. (If you’re not already attending, subscribe here!)

This week, Bryan Funk joined us to talk about 2020 donors, and how to retain them in 2021 and beyond. We were also joined by surprise guest panelist Terri, who shared her experiences building donor loyalty at her organization.

Top Takeaways

  1. 2020 Donors Are Remarkable
    The donors who gave in 2020 saw needs in their communities and world, and were moved to give. While they were dealing with whatever their own experiences were during a difficult time, they still reached out to care for others. That is worth noting as we engage with them–honor that special kind of generosity.
  2. Donor Retention is Not a 2020-Specific Problem.
    Yes, giving was up last year (yay!), but donor retention was not (boo!). Low donor retention has been an issue for quite some time–we haven’t seen a sector-wide donor retention rate over 50% in the past decade. The good news here is that you do not need to spend more time trying to solve the mystery of the 2020 donor–you can move right onto the donor retention best practices that we know work, and use them with all the first-time donors you’re trying to engage.
  3. Engage with the Cause, Educate About the Organization
    Donors often care more about causes than any particular organization, at least at first. Through storytelling and relevant communication, you can build their loyalty and demonstrate your trustworthiness. For a real-life example, The Responsive Weekly regular attendee Terri graciously jumped onscreen and shared about what’s worked at her organization.
  4. Let Donors Tell Their Stories, Too
    Why did the donor make the gift? What mattered to them? Why are they passionate about your cause? These are the kinds of questions that you can build lasting relationships on, and asking them gives donors an opportunity to share in a meaningful way. As a bonus, donor stories provide a kind of third-party endorsement for your organization that can really build trust and credibility.

Join Us Next Week!

You’re invited every week at 12 PM EST to join The Responsive Weekly for 30 action-packed minutes of collaboration and conversation. Hope to see you there!



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