The Best Kind of Donors

Written by Marissa Fragomeni

Many nonprofit organizations find it easy to attract new people to donate to their mission. Keeping these donors interested and satisfied is where the problems sets in. The best kind of donors are those who are loyal and consistent. Many researchers have called the donor turnover an “epidemic.” With the wide range of nonprofit organizations these days, it makes it hard to keep a donor focused on your organization. People tend to over-invest in cultivating new donors and under-invest in stewarding existing donors that typically contribute more to your nonprofit. Many nonprofit organizations do not have enough time or team members to specifically focus on each individual donor to ensure they come back year after year. Yet, with a set checklist of small tasks to complete after each donation, it becomes easy and manageable.

After researching a variety of websites, I have found five main points to help donors feel special and want to continue donating to your specific organization:

1. Remember: it’s far easier and cheaper to retain an existing donor than to find a new one. Although, times may seem too busy to focus on each donor, without proper acknowledgement, that next dollar might just be the last that donor ever gives you. So make sure to make time for them.

2. Write a prompt, personal, and enthusiastic thank you letter to the donor to make them feel like their donation mattered.

3. Keep records on how much money each donor has donated and how often, so you can send a congratulatory letter when they reach a milestone with your nonprofit organization.

4. Circle back around to donors and show them that you’re using their contribution in the manner that you told them you would originally. Then, circle back around again and tell donors what impact their donation had with your clients and the community.

5. Set aside one afternoon every month to call donors who made a contribution in the last four weeks. Make sure you are enthusiastic about their gift and generally tell them how you plan on putting their gift to work. Ask them how they would like you to communicate with them in the future and make sure you follow-through on your promise.

Working as an intern in the Center for Nonprofit Management for the past few weeks has taught me how important these grants and donations are to nonprofit organizations. They are what keeps the organization running successfully, which benefits the community as a whole. I would hate to see any nonprofit loose valuable donations that they deserve because they forget to do one of these easy tips. So remember focus on the relationship with each individual donor to make them feel like their donation is making all the difference!


For more quick and easy tips to making donors feel like they matter go to: