Every organization loses donors. Not every organization will admit it, but it is true. There are a finite number of reasons why people who once supported your organization do not continue. I thought it would be helpful to review the reasons why.
1. Financial Challenges
The number one reason people stop giving is because of personal financial challenges (54%). These challenges take on many forms from loss of a job, to a cancer diagnosis, to a fixed-income retirement.
2. Others Are More Deserving
The number two reason why people stop donating (36%) is a communication problem. They come to believe that another charity or ministry is more deserving of their contribution. This usually occurs because an organization is not doing a good job communicating the results of their work. A periodic newsletter is often a good place to begin to tell your donors about the important difference their gifts are making.
3. Poor Communication
The third reason for losing donors is poor communication (18%). Regular communication with donors is the best way to keep them informed and engaged. This can be done through email and direct mail, as well as personal phone calls.
Unfortunately we will lose some donors simply because their time on earth is complete (16%). While this destiny awaits all of us, informed donors often leave a legacy through a planned gift or bequest.
5. No Thank You
Failure to say thank you for a contribution — or even delayed thanks can have a chilling impact on donors. Many donors who do not receive an appropriate and timely thank you will never give again (13%).
6. Lack of Trust
It is important that donors know where their money is going and what their gift is accomplishing. Failure to communicate this important information results in donors giving elsewhere (8%).
7. Do Not Feel Needed
We have a tendency in our culture to assume someone else will give even if we don’t — after all, what difference could our small gift possibly make? Failure to feel like their gift is needed and important is the reason some donors fall away. (5%)
8. Lost Connection
When people have a change in lifestyle or location they often reevaluate their charitable priorities. They tend to give to an organization that has personal impact. If a personal connection is severed — purposefully or inadvertently — it is likely that donor will soon go away.
9. Never Converted from Giver to Donor
Sometimes donors will give to a certain appeal but never engage with the organization. This will happen during natural disasters, when people are looking for a way to help. It can also happen in response to a product offer type donation where people give to receive the product and not to support the organization.
Many donors think they are supporting you even though they are not. Perceptions can be deceiving. A periodic statement of giving or a warm note expressing that the donor’s support was missed can reactivate an otherwise lost donor.
Interestingly, seven of the ten reasons listed above have to do with donor communication. Poor donor communication can be very costly to any organization. Well planned, strategic donor communication can multiply its impact over time by keeping donors engaged.
Let us know if Infinity Concepts can help you optimize your donor communication program.
*Data Resources courtesy of Network For Good.
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