Here’s a startling statistic that points out the need for your nonprofit organization to do a better job with donor engagement. According to a recent study by Abila, nonprofits lose 57% of donors each year, and more than $25 billion in donations is at stake. That represents significant donor churn and missed opportunities for nonprofits to reduce their donor attrition.
So how does your nonprofit harness the loyalty of its existing donor base while continuously attracting new donors? Donor engagement determines when, how and why people donate to your organization.
And a staggering 74% of the nonprofits in Abila’s survey admitted that they can’t or don’t use donor data to make important program decisions.
Here are some key findings in the report with areas of opportunity that your nonprofit can use to improve your fundraising efforts:
- Generational engagement is a missed opportunity. Very few nonprofit organizations are targeting their appeals to donors based on their age group. However, these groups have clear preferences based on their generation. So why not recognize these preferences, and target the timing and messages of your appeals based on age groups?
- Few organizations are using data to drive strategy and tactics. Organizations tend to execute communications based on one data point, such as the last monetary donation amount, rather than taking a holistic view of their donors. Remember to engage donors around their passion for your nonprofit while taking into account preferences for engagement channels and timing.
- Critical content is more important than frequency or channel. Tune and target your content to the interests of your donors. Keep donors engaged with personal stories, updates on accomplishments and heartfelt appreciation for their involvement.
- Donors care about how their money is used. While all age groups except Millennials feel most connected to organizations through the act of giving, they want to ensure their money is used wisely. All age groups prefer to give to organizations with a good reputation that have a strong mission or cause. Different age groups weight the importance of these differently, so make sure you target your communications based on their preference.
On average, mature donors (born before 1945) support 3.21 nonprofit organizations annually. That’s the highest number but followed closely by Baby Boomers who give to 3.14 organizations and Gen Xers who support 2.95. Millennials give to 2.93 organizations annually but feel most connected if they are volunteering their time rather than donating money.
Major donors (defined as giving more than $500/year) are more sensitive to the number of times you communicate with them and the channels you use. With an array of multi-channel marketing methods available, be sure to understand your major donors’ preferences to ensure engagement but avoid exhaustion. In fact, only 52% of donors surveyed said they felt that the organizations they support take their preferences into account when communicating with them or appealing for donations.
Here are just a few ways you can target donor communications and channels:
- Donation amount
- Channel preference
- Acquisition source
- Age/birth year
Taking multiple data points into account to derive a more holistic view of your donors will set your nonprofit organization apart from the majority of those surveyed. AlumniFinder can help by appending key demographic, psychographic and lifestyle information to your donor database. You can gain a clear understanding of household income, age, occupation, education level and many other lifestyle characteristics of your donors.