Three Things You Must Do to Attract New Donors

11th October 2017

If you are an effective fundraiser you are probably doing all you can to encourage donors to renew their support to your cause. But, the reality is that not all of them will keep giving from one year to the next.

In my opinion, your charity is doing well if 70% of donors are renewing their support every year. In other words, you are doing well if no more than 30% of donors stop giving every year.

For example, if your charity had 10,000 active donors in 2016, and if 7,000 of them give again in 2017, then 3,000 would not give. And, that’s a lot of donors who are quietly walking away!

Donor attrition is a fact of life.

And, you can do something about it by trying to keep donors delighted and connected to your cause (more on this on a future blog post) and by acquiring new donors to can replace those who will not give again.

Acquiring new donors is vital to the future growth of your charity and to meeting your fundraising goals.

Here are three things you must do to run an effective new donor acquisition programme.

1. Know your charity’s attrition rates. Naturally, if you are to replace the donors who fall away each year, you need to know how many need replacing. That means you need to calculate attrition rates for various segments like new donors, multi-year donors, regained donors, etc.

If you are looking for help in generating attrition rates and other insightful fundraising reports why not get us to do a Fundraising Fitness Test on your database.

2. Recruit new donors as well as replace lapsed ones. Your new donor acquisition programme should aim to increase the overall number of donors and not just replace those who have stopped giving.

For example, if you are losing on average 3,000 donors every year you should aim to acquire 3,500 or 4,000 new donors through your acquisition programme.

As a rule of thumb, if your attrition rate is on average 3,000 donors annually and your goal is to add 1,000 new donors to your database annually, then you need to find 4,000 new donors.

3. Reach out to sufficient numbers of potential donors to meet your acquisition goals. Those who are new to fundraising think that they will get hundreds of new donors just by mailing or emailing a few thousand people. This is rarely the case though.

If you want to be successful  you need to invest in new donor acquisition for the long term.  You should aim to reach large numbers of potential donors online or through print using compelling new donor acquisition messages and packages.

Also, you need to continually evaluate your new donor acquisition response rates from different channels and re-invest in channels that bring the highest returns. For example, if your acquisition control package currently generates a response rate of 1.4 percent, then you must mail 140 packages to acquire one new donor.

To sum up:  do you know who many donors stop giving to your charity each year?  What plans to you have in place to replace them and to ad new donors to your database? Are you reaching enough potential donors to make your new donor acquisition efforts successful?

If you are grappling with these questions and have some good answers to them then you are on the road to new donor acquisition success.