Generating donor loyalty through best practices

Date Published

Donors, much like consumers, are flooded by choice. The internet age has spawned things like crowdsourcing and online giving, which themselves have resulted in an explosion of worthy causes and organizations. Yet most donors only have so many dollars to give, and when a hard decision about allocation needs to be made, nonprofits will want to make sure they’ll have that donor’s loyalty and can depend on them for long-term gifts.

Inspiring donor loyalty is not a challenge unique to this era, but it is certainly augmented by the times. Now, nonprofits have to compete for time among other voices and operations, which can make it hard to reach a level of engagement and familiarity with donors that generates loyalty. However, there are a number of tools and best practices that you can lean on to increase your loyalty-drive efforts to net long-time donors and gifts.

Here are some of those strategies to take when looking to attract donors and stir loyalty.

Think of loyalty as more than retention

A lot of emphasis is placed on donor retention these days, and for good reason. Churn is the enemy of all nonprofits, and with the wide variety of choice donors have in directing their hard-earned dollars, it can become quite the obstacle to overcome. Yet as important as churn and retention are, loyalty is a separate, but related, concept. In reality, it’s the step beyond retention. Once you’ve convinced a donor to stay, you need to motivate with reasons to give: the difference between simple retention and more advanced loyalty.

To be sure, loyalty and retention are still very much connected, since they both address the same responsibility of getting a donor to stay on. However, nonprofits need to look at loyalty as a different task altogether if they want to be successful in that area. For instance, retention is all about establishing a base of engagement, whereas loyalty is building on that with incentives or communications designed to make a donor feel welcomed, valued and heard.

Regularly connect with loyal donors

Communicating with your most loyal donors on a normal basis is all about keeping a warm seat hot: You don’t want to let your core audience get to thinking you don’t value them anymore. If anything, nonprofits need to overcommunicate with loyal donors lest they risk a lull in activity and engagement that results in a giving reduction. There’s no real harm in overcommunicating either, your most loyal donors are the ones likely to be the most willing to put up with it; plus, they’ll let you know what level of frequency is right for them.

Communication can mean all sorts of things, not just emails. For instance, connecting with donors on social media or through a donor management solution can provide the same effect. The point is, never let radio silence linger too long, as loyal donors want to know they’re being paid attention to.

Membership perks are a big reason why donors sign up for loyalty programs

Give donors a reason to become loyal

To ensure donors follow down a pathway of long-term loyalty, it’s important to make them see the value in doing so. Extending various perks and membership benefits is must in constructing any loyalty program. In short, stations must incentivize loyalty— but they don’t have to break the bank or crimp their margins to make it happen.

Loyal donors really don’t expect the world in return for their time and giving, they just want a little something. So whether that’s an annual soiree held for the most loyal donors or a free gift every quarter, loyal donors will most certainly appreciate your efforts.

Aside from one-time events or freebies, you should be sure to extend some smaller-scale benefits like membership cards that offer discounts at approved partner businesses and institutions. Having such a network is a big advantage for you and your members, and a marketing point that you can regularly hit on to gain new loyal donors.

Talk to Allegiance about a loyalty platform

Operating a loyalty program is necessary for any nonprofit, but it can also be a bit of a pain if they don’t have the right tools or solutions. Look to Allegiance Fundraising for a turnkey solution designed to inspire loyalty and increase average contributions. 

Contact us today for more information about how we can help and what our solution can do for your organization.

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