1.  Say Thank you

Simply put, be gracious and say thank you. It always perplexes me in business how often people take acts of kindness for granted. As much as I’d like to believe that making a donation is the ultimate embodiment of altruism, the fact remains that people appreciate being recognized for doing good. Some want to see their name in lights, for others a simple “thank you” is all it takes. Either way, don’t give your donors any reason to move their support to another cause. No matter how big or small the contribution, take the time to say thank you. Acknowledging someone’s generosity isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s essential for donor retention.

2.  Make Donors Feel Something

Sharing stories is one of the most powerful ways to create lasting emotional bonds. This fact dates back to ancient times, when village leaders would gather everyone around a fire to pass down captivating tales of greatness from generation to generation. These stories inspired loyalty, encouraged a feeling of community, and reinforced the notion that working together led to growth and prosperity for the village.

This same approach holds true for today’s foundations, and the challenges of donor retention. Telling supporters how their contributions make a difference promotes loyalty, togetherness, and future generosity. Sharing stories anchored in accomplishments, helping others, and highlighting positive outcomes, all signal to donors that their contributions make a real difference to others.

While it may not be practical to gather all your donors around a fire, you can certainly take advantage of modern storytelling methods, like digital donor recognition, to create emotional connections with your supporters. Some of these techniques include using video to let people explain in their own words how they have been helped. Show before-and-after photos with quotes, that paint a picture of support and positive outcomes. Finally, have the leaders speak. As senior leadership can be considered inaccessible, when they directly address your supporters with tangible impact stories, it is a powerful way of sharing progress. All of this can be accomplished with digital donor recognition, and collectively, these measures are a great way to instill in donors’ feelings for your organization and cause.

3.  Get Creative!

Maintaining your donors is a business in and of itself. And just like all businesses, if you do nothing different to keep people interested, you’ll lose them. Examples that prove this are everywhere in the corporate world. Consider the number of times McDonalds has creatively reinvented itself. The slogan “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas” is one of the most successful city advertising campaigns of all time. This is because it inspired legions people to come back again and again, and attracted an entirely new generation of people seeking their own Vegas experience. Examples like these don’t just come from huge corporate entities, with seemingly endless marketing budgets. Successful long-running businesses that have embraced creativity can be found in local markets everywhere.

The business of donor retention isn’t any different. What you say and how you say it, counts towards keeping people interested in your cause. Don’t think of this as a call to action to create a catchy new slogan, but to think creatively in showing your supporters that you care, and that you appreciate them. Ways to achieve this can include personalized messages over social media, profiling various supporters with articles on your web site, and digital donor recognition, a new format to broadcast heartfelt appreciation with video profiles, photos, names, and impact stories to all who pass by.

By Edward Menashy