Making sure that your donors are excited about the work your nonprofit is doing and remain engaged is critical to your fundraising success. Focusing on enhancing donor affinity and relationship-building benefits your nonprofit in numerous ways. In this article, we are going to take a deeper look into how donor affinity impacts donor retention.
Defining Donor Affinity
In the world of nonprofit fundraising, there are three key things to focus on when studying your donor ratings. These Three Keys, as they are known, refer to donor propensity, affinity, and capacity.
Donor propensity looks at the giving history of the donor to determine if they have given to the nonprofit in the past. Donor affinity examines the enthusiasm the donor may have for the organization and mission. This could refer to an emotional, political, or even social connection to the cause. The donor capacity analyzes how much the donor is financially able to give to the organization.
The Three Keys play a critical role in identifying vital donors and meeting your fundraising goals, but it is boosting donor affinity and building relationships with your donors that leads to a higher donor retention rate.
What is Donor Retention?
Donor retention means investing in relationship building with your donors so that they will be motivated to continue to give to your organization. Instead of it being just a one-time gift, the goal is to retain the donor’s support for many years to come. By investing in relationships, you are showing your donors that you value their support and commitment to your cause.
In addition, donor retention entails persuading the donor to commit to giving on a set schedule rather than sporadically. Doing this will not only help your nonprofit meet its fundraising goals or close a capital campaign, but scheduled giving prevents an increase in lapsed donors.
How Donor Affinity Leads to Donor Retention
Concentrating on boosting donor affinity helps your nonprofit maintain and improve its donor retention rate.
When you maintain a good retention rate, less money goes towards marketing to recruit new donors, allowing you to invest more resources in raising the giving amounts of current donors. Implementing a proper donor stewardship plan increases the likelihood of committed donors moving up the giving ladder at a faster pace.
Additionally, building donor affinity makes it easier to recruit volunteers because, compared to first-time donors, existing donors are more willing to jump in and help. Long-term donors are also more likely to commit to leaving legacy gifts to your nonprofit.
The Benefits of Donor Retention
Now that we have established what donor retention is and how donor affinity impacts retention, let’s explore the benefits of increasing donor retention.
Studies have shown that a simple 10% increase in donor retention can enhance the value of your donor database by an immense 200%.
Here are three reasons why:
Reduction in a high donor acquisition cost: The donor acquisition cost is the total amount it costs your nonprofit to bring in new donors. It can take around 18-24 months for a nonprofit to recoup the money invested in recruiting a new donor. And these first gifts are usually 2 to 3 times less than the amount of marketing money spent. Maintaining a good donor retention rate combats this high acquisition cost.
Gain access to the donor’s network: One of the benefits of boosting a donor’s affinity for your cause is them spreading the word about your nonprofit with their network. This is known as relationship leveraging and the chief aim is to drive more donations and recruit new donors without the additional cost. Having a strong social media presence is an easy way to tap into donors’ networks.
Bring in larger gifts: There is no denying the correlation between donor retention and gift sizes. Donors that give less than $100 have around a 53% retention rate, but the retention rate of those who give $250+ increases to over 75%. Therefore, as the donor retention rate rises, so does the gift size.
Why Donor Recognition Enhances Donor Affinity
One way to retain donors and enhance affinity is to simply recognize them for their contributions and share the impact of their gift. Donors want to know their gift matters and expect to see evidence of how it is being used. To tug at donors’ heartstrings, share impact stories or videos that illustrate the work your nonprofit is doing thanks to donors, and one way to share this is through donor recognition walls.
OmniAlly’s digital donor wall solution offers you a modern, innovative way to recognize your donors. In addition to displaying a donor list, with digital signage, you can also feature special donor profiles, share donor stories, display videos and images, and much more.
Not only does featuring donors on this sleek wall design help your nonprofit keep existing donors, it is also a smart way to steward new donors. Seeing this public display of donor recognition will only boost a donor’s affinity for your organization and result in a higher donor retention rate.
Investing time and resources into building relationships with current donors and recognizing them for their contributions will benefit your fundraising efforts in numerous ways. Not only will it enhance donor affinity and improve your donor retention rate, but you will also start to see low-level donors become major donors and an increase in the total number of donors contributing to your cause.
Holley Snaith is a writer with 5+ years’ experience in the nonprofit sector. She began her career in the industry at the Eleanor Roosevelt Center in Hyde Park, managing the annual Girls’ Leadership Worldwide program. At the Richard Nixon Foundation, Holley served as a Development Associate, overseeing donor relations and working with the team to close major capital campaigns. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration with a certificate in Leadership in Public Service and Nonprofit Administration.