Fundraisers are always looking at their donor giving, wondering what the secret is to keep supporters engaged, renewing and upgrading. Conversely, we also want to minimize downgrading and attrition. Balancing these efforts is how we maximize our fundraising dollars and do the most good for our organization with the resources available to us.
It’s easy to forget that renewal and acquisition go together: you get so focussed on your database you don’t remember that attrition is inevitable and you neglect prospects. Or you work so hard to get new donors you forgot to ask your existing donors to give. That’s why the right mix is important, and knowing the stats for your donors and each segment will help you figure out where to invest, where to save and when to do both.
Renewal and acquisition are BFFs: to keep your database healthy, you have to remember them both. Thank and steward your donors to get them to renew and upgrade, then ideally become monthly supporters and legacy prospects. Continue to thank and steward throughout the year, since we know renewing existing donors is more cost-effective than acquiring a new donor.
However, attrition is inevitable—even if your supporters are 100% happy with you, natural life changes will mean some of them don’t give due to their job situation, moves, starting a family or retiring. So you need to get new donors to make up for these ‘missing’ supporters. Attrition can seem more challenging than renewal, but with journey mapping, segmenting and targeting, you can maximize your organization’s investment to boost new donors and retain more of them.
Renewal and acquisition are your BFFS too, so don’t neglect them! Figure out the right mix of spending in each area and keep your database healthy to sustain your mission for years to come.