Donor Retention Strategies: Six Tips to Encourage Recurring Giving

| 7 min read Fundraising Strategy

While starting a fundraiser can take less than five minutes, the most important work happens after you’ve launched your fundraiser. Once donations start rolling in, it’s crucial to connect with your donors to maximize your crowdfunding efforts.

The advantages of doing this are twofold: it makes your donors feel appreciated, and it keeps them engaged with your cause.

So how can you encourage people to contribute again in the future? We’ve put together six of our favorites ideas to help you increase donor retention and build connections with your biggest advocates.

1. Thank your donors

Imagine sending a gift to someone through the mail and hearing nothing but radio silence afterward. People love feeling appreciated—it’s that simple. The Donor-Centered Fundraising study revealed that 93% of donors would be more likely to give again if they receive a timely and personal thank-you note—within 48 hours of the donation is most effective. 

If a short thank-you note can have such a massive impact on recurring giving, it’s absolutely worth the effort to reach out to both new donors and old ones. Luckily, thanking your donors through GoFundMe doesn’t take much effort at all. You can send thank-yous with just a few clicks once signed into your account. You’ll have the option to send a standard note, or personalize the message with your own text.

If you need some tips on how to craft the perfect thank-you, check out our blog post, How to Write a Donation Thank-You Letter. Or if you prefer to practice non-traditional gratitude, take a look at our 20 different ways to say thank you.

2. Write a fundraising update

Your donors are hungry for information about what kind of impact their donations have had. One study from Software Advice found that 60% of donors are eager for stories about how they have personally made a difference to your cause.

Keeping your donors in the loop is a tried-and-true donor retention strategy, and here’s why:

Updates show impact

It might sound obvious, but when people can see that their contributions have been helpful, they are much more likely to give again.

Updates increase transparency

If you provide a detailed breakdown of expenses and how you’ve applied the funds to date, it shows your donors that you’re making good on your word.

Updates keep your cause top of mind

Thoughtful updates remind donors that you’re still fundraising and still need help. Updates are automatically emailed to your donors who have subscribed, so they can read about your latest news directly from their inbox.

Updates can double as thank yous

Use an update as an opportunity to give a special shout-out to a top contributor. This special and public recognition will shower your donor in appreciation and can motivate others to donate.

Once you’ve posted your update, don’t forget to share it on your social media channels to spread the word. Need some guidance on how to write a compelling update? Read our tips for how to write a fundraising update for extra help.

3. Host community fundraising event

While the internet is convenient, you can often convey a need much more effectively face-to-face. Not only that, but a fundraising event rallies the community and brings donors and potential donors together in a fun setting.

Hosting an intimate potluck is a wonderful way to unite close friends and family members and tell them about the impact their contributions have had.

Throwing a more community-focused event like a bake sale or neighborhood yard sale, on the other hand, can encourage involvement from outside your network. It also shows potential donors that you want to give back to them as well. 

You can reach out to local businesses to see if they would be willing to host your event in exchange for the business you’ll bring. They may even agree to donate a certain percentage of their sales to your cause.

When throwing an event remember to:

  • Create fundraiser flyers and pass them out at the event so people can easily find your fundraiser online
  • Take photos of the event and post them in an update later to keep the momentum going

4. Use social media to remind donors of your fundraiser

The average person spends about 24 hours on the internet every week, so it’s smart to take advantage of SM platforms to ignite people to action. Here are a few of the most popular SM channels you can use to increase retention rate and remind existing donors that you’re still fundraising:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter

Facebook is ideal for sharing your fundraiser since it is the most popular social media platform, second only to YouTube. Posting an update on Facebook or sharing your fundraiser URL will link people back to your GoFundMe, where they can read your full story and donate.

How to use Facebook when fundraising

  • Create a Facebook page specific to your cause and invite your friends to “like” it.
  • Post your GoFundMe link to Facebook groups you’re a member of, if appropriate.
  • Post an update on Facebook, then tag a few donors in your post and thank them publicly for supporting your nonprofit organization.
  • Ask two or three friends to share your Facebook post on their own Timeline to spread more awareness for your cause.
  • Read our blog post Facebook Fundraising 101 for more in-depth tips.

Even though Facebook is the most popular social media platform, don’t forget to alternate between the others so you don’t overwhelm one audience.

5. Go beyond social media outreach

If you’ve exhausted online efforts, or simply want to make sure to extend your reach, it might be time to get back to the basics. A handwritten letter, personalized email, or phone call or text can be a refreshing change from the online dialogue.

Contacting your donors individually instead of posting something en masse on social media also makes it feel like you truly care about the donors supporting your nonprofit organization or cause.

A low-effort way to spread the word offline is to create a flyer of your GoFundMe and post it around your community. You can even ask some of your favorite local businesses if they would be willing to post your flyer in their shop.

Take a look at our 42 other ways to share offline for more ideas about how to increase your fundraiser’s visibility offline.

6. Get creative with your second ask

Many of your donors are probably willing to give again—they might simply need a little reminder.

Keep these points in mind when thinking of your donor retention rates and asking for a second donation:

Remain positive

Approaching your donors from a place of hope can make all the difference in the world. That old adage about catching more flies with honey exists for a reason.

Relay a sense of urgency

If you only have 17 days left to meet your goal, for example, let your donor database know. A specific timeline will remind them that you still need help— and quickly.

Announce a “fundraising bonanza” day

Tell everyone that it’s crunch time and you’re seeing how much money you can raise in the next 24 hours. Challenge them to invite their friends to help.

Put things into perspective

People are more likely to donate when it’s clear their donation will make a tangible difference. Crunch some numbers and let people know that a $5 donation from just 30 people will get you to your goal.

Encourage recurring giving now

Asking for help is never easy, but it’s important to remember that you already have a pool of donors who care about you and your cause.

If you make it a priority to keep your donor audience informed and express your gratitude for their help, then you’ll be all set to meet—and even surpass—your fundraising goal and donor retention strategy.

Haven’t started your GoFundMe yet? Launch your free crowdfunding fundraiser today and start raising money for your cause or organization.

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Written by GoFundMe