The Agitator has released the fifth in its new series of DonorTrends White Papers, based on our proprietary donor survey research. This paper, dealing with donor loyalty, is available only as a benefit for subscribers to The Agitator’s Premium Service.

Our first two White Papers deal with generational trends and differences in giving; our second two examine online giving behavior.

Our new DonorTrends paper is titled Donor Loyalty: The Holy Grail of Fundraising. It examines the extent to which donors do or do not develop familiarity and ongoing relationships with the charities and causes they support.

Is there such a thing as a loyal donor? At one level, of course the answer is "Yes!" Any of us who have worked in a nonprofit have known them … indeed, they’ve nurtured and sustained us, financially and emotionally, and often with strategic and programmatic insights as well.

Yet, when we look at the "macro" data, there doesn’t seem to be that many of them. They’re damn hard to spot, let alone predict or assign any defining characteristics to. But that’s what we’ve struggled with in Donor Loyalty: The Holy Grail of Fundraising, an update from our earlier analysis in 2005. And this will be the focus of DonorTrends in the future.

Donor Loyalty identifies a variety of factors and trends that have significant fundraising implications, for example:

  • five or six-out-of-ten donors claim to be steady supporters of their favored charities and causes;
  • correspondingly, there is relatively little reported "shopping around" or "impulse" donating;
  • yet only one-in-three donors seem to want the emotional or richer bond associated with being a "member" (versus "contributor’), and likewise, one-in-three donors makes a gift to some nonprofit on a monthly basis;
  • using a number of measures, we find that only three-of-ten donors report either following carefully or knowing much about the organizations they support;
  • older donors, and those who give in the aggregate more than $1,000 per year are especially loyal.

Surprisingly, there has been a narrowing of differences in loyal giving between online and offline donors. This is somewhat worrisome in that arguably more opportunities are available for affordable cultivation (including more personalized treatment) of online donors. However, in one respect, propensity to make referrals and recruit others to causes they support, online donors do significantly "out-proselytize" offline donors.

Overall, our paper observes that a solid 60-70% of donors are simply not on either an informational or emotional path to giving loyalty.

The Donor Loyalty White Paper includes our recommendations for nurturing loyalty amongst your donors.

Here’s where you can subscribe to The Agitator Premium Service, which includes your copies of all DonorTrends White Papers.

Roger & Tom

views left

This article was posted in: Demographics, Donor retention / loyalty / commitment, Nonprofit management, Online fundraising and marketing.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.