Strategies for Annual Giving Donor Retention

Topics: Fundraising, Advancement, Donor and Prospect Relations

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This brief explores how institutions attempt to retain annual giving donors. The brief includes metrics and retention benchmarking data, along with strategies for re-solicitation, stewardship, leadership and loyalty societies, and the use of analytics to segment messages and identify major gift prospects.

  • Key observations from our research:

    1. Donor retention rates at profiled institutions range from 59 to 71 percent.

    2. Profiled annual giving programs solicit past donors for gifts between two and six times per year across multiple channels.

    3. Contacts report that direct mail produces the highest retention rates and strong ROI; telefund operations produce lower retention rates and lower ROI.

    4. Administrators emphasize that effective gift stewardship represents a central component of annual giving donor retention strategy.