How To Increase Donor Loyalty?

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posted by Linh Nguyen
on Apr 15, 2016

Donors play a vital role in the business of non-profits, as it is their funds that support not only the organization’s day-to-day operations, but also the attention-grabbing events that draw public interest. For this reason, non-profits must garner and maintain donor loyalty, as well as find ways to boost it.


READ MORE: Crowdfunding for non-profits


What is donor loyalty?

According to Sage Nonprofit Solutions, a champion of not-for-profit organizations in North America for over thirty years, donor loyalty is “an emotional connection and relationship between donors and [an] organization.” The definition recalls the simple idea that if a cause touches the hearts of others, they will feel motivated to support that cause in return. This “support” can take many forms, including praise, advocacy, volunteering, and – as is preferable in our commercial economy – financial assistance.

[Tweet “Being a donor is simple; however, being a loyal donor is another story. #nptech #fundraising”]

One can be an occasional donor who selectively supports particular events or who rallies behind a cause at certain times of the year (holidays are a generous time for many). Loyal donors, on the other hand, engage in campaigns because they feel compelled to do so, and as long as an organization proves able and willing to fight for its respective cause, these individuals will offer their support consistently. Often, such loyalty requires motivation; to give of one’s time and funds is not always an easy sacrifice, so it is important that an organization’s plea for support is strong enough to make donors think less about their personal needs and more about the call of the cause.

Surprisingly, Sage’s recent studies show that 69% of the interviewed non-profits claim that they do not or are unsure if they have a formal strategy in place for managing donor loyalty. Keeping in mind the importance of this concept, you may want to be one of the remaining 31%. Let us help you out with the useful tips below.


#1. Present Compelling Messages



Communicating with your audience emotionally is the goal of this tip. Keep asking yourself these two question:

  • What message do I want to convey?
  • How will I convey the message in a way that engages others?

Mystery is not a friend to the non-profit. Speak out about your organization’s goals and efforts so that donors know how and where to help. Also, be straightforward about your cause; you need to be direct because the more to-the point your message is, the more likely it will resonate with those truly affected by your work’s purpose, and these are the individuals who are willing to commit for the long-term.


#2. Build Trust

Trust is the essential factor that motivates donors to take action. It’s all about developing an honest and transparent relationship with the audience so that interested individuals know exactly where their support is going. Donors have reasons to be fearful of donating significant resources, so your mission should be to maintain an open and reassuring line of communication about how your organization is allocating funds and assets to meet agreed upon goals.



A few ways to develop trust are:

  • Show a list of known, recognized partners
  • Present clips about your activities and messages from attendees
  • Try to contact donors personally; while emails will do, phone calls and written letters show you are making a true effort


#3. Give Gifts to Donors

Some people are more inclined to participate in social activities if there is a means of confirming their participation. In most scenarios, participation is noted through the presentation of objects, such as hats, T-shirts, cups, awards, etc. For your non-profit, this is like killing two birds with one stone; you can both promote your business with tokens displaying your logo, as well as entice donors into future participation with the promise of additional rewards.

Remember to keep in mind your budget for events; carefully calculate the price of these donor gifts to ensure their cost does not outweigh their possible gains for your organization.

#4. Make the Donation Easy

Inconvenience is the biggest obstacle when someone is attempting to donate to an organization. Who wants to labor in order to gift away time, money, and/or resources?

Some non-profits experience a shortage in donors because they fail to organize and simplify the donation process. If you don’t want this to happen to your organization, make it easy for donors to say, “Yes.” Don’t let donors’ laziness (or your own) get in the way of helping those in need and advancing your non-profit’s cause.




Ensure your website has a clean, functioning interface with clearly presented payment methods. Provide donors with well-crafted instructions on how to donate as well as with follow-up messages to update them on the progress of their donations. Don’t forget to thank them for their support and to politely “push” them to consider donating next time.


A sustainable non-profit needs loyal donors, but cultivating this type of supporter is not always an easy task. If you have additional methods for maintaining donor support, comment below to show your support for fellow non-profits.


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