3 Secrets To Help You Build Donor Loyalty


By Abby Jarvis

You’ve done the legwork: you’ve built your awesome donation page, you’ve set up your merchant accounts, and your supporters have started making donations. Everything is under control – right?

Many non-profits focus so intently on getting new supporters that they neglect something that’s just as important: hanging on to the donors they already have. More than 50% of first-time donors never make more than one gift to any given organization. Encouraging your donors to stay involved isn’t hard, but it will take time, creativity, and dedication. You can start to build donor loyalty by:

1. Saying “Thank You” – And Saying It Sincerely

You should be able to send an automatic receipt to your donors when they donate online or if they use a credit card during on-site events. But what do your receipts say? If your donors only receive a generic, no-frills receipt and never hear from you again, you’re missing a valuable opportunity to thank them in a unique way. Customize your receipts to include a thank-you note and, more importantly, follow-up in other ways to tell your donors how much you appreciate them.

Ways to follow-up with your supporters are boundless. Record a thank-you video for donors and post it on your website and social media pages! Call your donors and thank them personally! Send personalized e-mails! Throw an appreciation party after a successful campaign! The possibilities are endless.

2. Maintaining Your Emotional Connections

Donors give to your non-profit because they feel strongly about your mission and your story. Fostering that emotional connection is absolutely critical to donor retention: your supporters are more likely to continue their contributions if they never forget why they supported you in the first place.

In an earlier post, I talked about the importance of developing your organization’s narrative, and this is another instance that highlights the significance of telling your story. Keep donors engaged by showing them that your organization is working hard even when you’re not fundraising: post pictures of what you’re doing and regular updates to keep supporters interested. Show your donors that they’re making a difference!

3. Listen, Listen, Listen

It’s easy to get caught up in the ins and outs of running a non-profit organization… but remember that all the work you’re doing would be impossible without your supporters. Giving them some input into what you’re doing is a good way to keep them invested in your organization, and including your donors can be pretty easy. You can use polls on Facebook or your website to ask them what they’d like to see you do with their money or give them a way to reply to your newsletters or e-mail campaigns. Address any vocalized concerns instead of ignoring them. Ask for advice – and take it. Involved, attentive supporters are happy supporters… and keeping supporters happy is the best way to keep their financial support.

There’s more to building donor loyalty than the basics, of course, but if you start doing these three things you’ll be off to a good start.


ABBY is a writer and nonprofit education enthusiast at Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.