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According to a report by Blackbaud, donor retention for first-time donors is typically only 29% for offline donors and 21% for online. But if a donor can be retained for 12 months, the chance of them continuing to donate rises to 60% (offline) and 58% (online).

Clearly, donor loyalty is essential for charities and non-profit organisations, so we’ve put together our top tips to retain your donors through effective communication.

How much do you keep in touch?

Like any relationship, donor loyalty grows and improves when you keep talking. Start by assessing how many times your donor will have heard from you since their first donation – an initial ‘thank you’ email? A monthly email newsletter? An annual letter through the post? Chances are you’ll see you could be doing more.

Start as you mean to go on

When someone makes a donation to your cause, make sure you are thanking them effectively. A personalised email or letter doesn’t need to be long – a simple paragraph or two showing them that you appreciate their gift, and sharing how you plan to use it is enough. Just make sure your donor knows they’ve made a positive difference, as soon as they donate.

Then keep up the momentum

Does your organisation send donor newsletters? They can be a vital tool in donor retention, so we’d recommend sending one regularly if you can – it can be a printed booklet or an email.

To be most effective, it’s important to keep in mind that the newsletter is about donors. It’s good to mix in some behind-the-scenes news and some compelling case studies, but keep the focus firmly on your donors. This newsletter is your chance to highlight examples of their exceptional generosity, share stories of fundraising activities, and strengthen the connection between your cause and your donors by making them feel appreciated and involved. With every article you include, ask yourself if it meets this objective.

Back up your newsletter with your website. Direct readers to find more information online, and keep your site packed with updated news articles. Not only is it great for SEO, it’s also the best way to increase engagement with your supporters.

Publish an impact report

Impact reports will benefit your charity or non-profit organisation in a range of ways, which we covered in more detail in our article 5 reasons to produce an impact report. Published annually and sent to your donors as a printed or digital document, this report is your chance to thank your supporters for a year where they made a difference, to share the work you did with the funds they provided, and to showcase your plans for the coming year.

We’re here to help

Adept have helped a variety of UK charities to conduct communications audits, then build and implement effective communications strategies. From donor newsletters to creative impact reports, we are experts at helping you share your stories and increase engagement. Get in touch with our friendly team to learn more about how we could help you build strong relationships with your donors.


View one of our featured impact reports


Giving your newsletter an identity

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