I never pass up an opportunity to hear Roger Craver breaking down the fundamentals of fundraising with wit, piss and vinegar. In the latest edition of Steve MacLaughlin’s excellent podcast Non Profit Voices, Roger breaks down the retention crisis non profits are facing and shares the real cost of churn and burn acquisition strategies.

What does Roger think you need to do to keep your job?

  • Change your attitude. Retaining donors requires a lot of work, innovation, and trial and error. Most existing fundraising leadership was brought up on a traditional direct marketing transactional model. We have to change our mindsets and begin to build relationships with our donors. 
  • Look to the commercial world, which has been far more adaptive at customer-centric retention strategies and is seeing a 92% retention rate as opposed to the non profit sector, which is seeing a 41% retention rate.
  • Become donor-centric. Only the donor’s attitude will influence his or her behavior (e.g. We overvalue technique-driven tactics like color of envelope and subject lines). Organizations can influence donor attitudes by giving them stellar customer service, report backs on their impact, and providing them with authentic gratitude.
  • Measure what makes a loyal donor. It is possible to identify what portion of the donor experience accounts for what portion of the donors money. You can identify what makes for good donor-centric strategies by using a simple predictive model. Find out how. Hear more from Roger here.