4 Donor retention strategies you need to use

We probably don't have to tell you how crucial regular donors are for the success of your nonprofits. Even while donor retention is on the decline globally, by implementing a few key strategies you can strengthen your bond with supporters and ensure the sustainability of your mission.

Regular donors are crucial for nonprofits by the very nature of the industry. In 2022, nonprofits experienced a 6% decline in repeat donors globally. This metric, known as donor retention, is a measure of how many donors continue to support an organisation over time. While it can be a challenge to keep donors coming back, it's an important focus to ensure the ongoing success of your mission.

By using a few key strategies you can transition first time donors into loyal supporters. Let’s have a look at 4 donor retention strategies your nonprofit can be using.

Follow up with a 'nurture' journey

Creating a journey, or a series of communications a donor receives after making a transaction, is one of the most widely used and successful methods of donor retention.

In the world of nonprofit organisations, the act of donation is only the first step in the journey of supporting a cause. While a single donation can make a significant impact, it is important to remember that building long-lasting relationships with donors is crucial for the sustainability of the organisation. By regularly engaging with donors, nonprofits can keep their supporters informed about the progress and impact of their donations, as well as provide them with opportunities to further engage with their organisation. This not only helps to increase the likelihood of future donations, but it also strengthens the bond between the donor and the cause, ultimately leading to a more successful and sustainable nonprofit.

In order to implement a “nurture” journey, it is essential that you use a website that integrates natively to both you website, and marketing automation software. Learn more about these integrations here.

The best nurture journeys have a high degree of customisation. By incorporating factors such as donation frequency, donation amount, and which campaigns they donated to, you can tailor your communications to speak to the value you offer for each individual donor. Following up like this will keep your donors engaged as it will allow them to focus on the campaigns they genuinely care about.

Update them on your impact

It's crucial to keep supporters in the loop and demonstrate the ongoing impact of their contributions. All too often, donors are left uncertain about the effectiveness of their donations or how their funds are being utilised. This can lead to a lack of trust and confidence, which is a major contributor to donor retention problems. By keeping supporters informed and updated on the difference their contributions are making, non-profit organisations can foster a sense of ownership and fulfillment for their donors.

You can keep your supporters in the loop in a number of ways:

  • If your CRM and website are integrated, you can automatically add your donors to your monthly newsletter. In these communications you can share the latest stories, case studies, and impact that your organisation has made, as well as any opportunities for them to support your cause that are coming up.
  • Share your stories on your charity website through news articles or content pages.
  • Make use of social media to document impact stories. (Hot tip: make sure you link through to your website from your social media posts to make the most out of your content marketing).

Customise their experience

As we mentioned earlier, the best nurture journeys have a high degree of customisation. The same can be said of user experience in general, but increasingly this is relevant for donation experiences in particular.

Your nonprofit should consider tailoring your donation offerings to the needs and interests of your supporters for a more engaging experience. For example, an animal adoption charity can feature imagery specific to adopted dogs, cats, or rabbits, while a healthcare organization can offer targeted donation options for specific areas of need to foster a stronger connection to the cause. You could also tailor giving amounts to different donor segments to make donations more approachable for the lower tiers of supporters, while encouraging the maximum donation amounts possible for the high value segments. By providing content speaking to the unique interests to your donors in the donation process, you can create a more rewarding experience for your supporters.

Thank your donors

It may seem simple, but an effective way of making your donors feel appreciated is sending an automated ‘thank you’ message.

There are a number of charity websites that offer automated email receipts and ‘thank you’s, allowing you to focus less on admin and more on what’s important to your organisation. These also ensure no ‘thank you’ messages fall through the cracks and that all donors feel that their gift is appreciated, which in turn, will make them more likely to support your cause in the future.


Donor retention is a crucial aspect of nonprofit success and the decrease in repeat donors in 2022 is a cause for concern. However, by using strategies such as sending personalised thank you messages, creating a donor nurture journey, keeping supporters informed about the impact of their contributions, and tailoring the donation experience to their needs and interests, nonprofits can increase donor retention and foster long-lasting relationships with their supporters. These efforts will not only lead to increased donations but will also strengthen the bond between the donors and the cause, ultimately leading to a more successful and sustainable nonprofit.

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