We wanted to give Agitator readers advance notice of – and an early opportunity to participate in – the 2012 U.S. National Survey on Donor Commitment.

Following the successful pattern of last year’s study in the US and this summer’s in the UK, loyalty and commitment among acquisition donors to 50 organizations will be analyzed and compared against each other and against the 2011 results.

In addition, we will conduct parallel and private studies for up to 15 organizations who wish to include a sample of their house file donors. The results of the National Study will be shared publicly. Results of the parallel, Private Studies will be shared only with the organization.

The cost to participate in the Private Study Pool, just $3,500 per organization, is negligible given the insights and actionable information you’ll get back for increasing retention and lifetime value. Here’s why you may want to have your organization take us up on the opportunity.

We can only conduct a maximum of 15 Private Studies. To ensure adequate sample sizes, the Private Study is best suited to larger nonprofits who can provide a minimum of 10,000 email addresses. To find out whether your organization can qualify, check out the registration form here or feel free to contact Kevin Schulman at DonorVoice.

Lots has been written, talked and preached about the need to create, maintain and grow donor relationships … with near unanimous agreement on the immense value derived. Higher retention. Higher net income. Higher life time value.

In fact, over the past four years, The Agitator itself has covered or commented on the essential issue of Donor Relationships — and too-often-squishy concepts of ‘trust’, ‘loyalty’, ‘commitment’, ‘engagement’ — in 137 posts.

But what was missing, until we conducted last year’s US Donor Commitment Study, was: 1) a systematic, math and theory-based process to measure the strength of the donor relationship and what impacts it; and 2) the practical tools and guidance nonprofits need to do something about it.

Working with DonorVoice we used the first study to test the fundamental theory of good donor relationship management – the belief that most of us as a matter of faith accept that if a donor feels she/he has a good relationship with an organization it positively affects their giving. Conversely, a weak relationship or absence of any relationship negatively impacts giving.

Proof. Last year’s US National Study, (Executive Summary here)  followed by the national study in the UK ( Executive Summary here), plus 23 private and organization-specific studies since then, have provided proof positive of the theory. Indeed it is factually, empirically true that a donor who feels good about an organization actually gives more, more frequently and over a longer period.

Identify and Measure Key Factors of Commitment. We also proved that the strength of the donor relationship (commitment/loyalty) can indeed be measured and scored. But it must be done correctly; there are plenty of wrong or misguided ways to attempt it … like satisfaction or intent measures like Net Promoter Score. Even more significant is that the practical, inexpensive steps an organization can take to improve the score can be identified and put in priority order.

The project is being directed by our colleague Kevin Schulman, a veteran marketing and fundraising researcher with heaps of successful experience at nailing down these types of difficult issues with mathematical certainty.

Any takers?

Click here to learn more about the project, the requirements to participate in the Private Study, the rewards of participation, and to sign up.

Roger and Tom

P.S. One of the helpful ‘goodies’ participants receive is not only the findings specific to their organization, but a private briefing where we’ll share the results, along with all the ways this scoring can be applied to drive retention higher. For example, as an early warning sign, a way of spotting RFM-identified ‘good’ donors who are at risk of defecting, and identification of donors who, despite their ‘bad’ donor label via RFM segmentation, have real potential.


This article was posted in: Donor retention / loyalty / commitment, DonorTrends / DonorVoice, Fundraising analytics / data.
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