The research is out: Dedicated Donors want to MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Even without the facts and figures, we all know that one of the main reasons people donate is because they want to make a difference in the world.  They want to support causes and programs that they’re passionate about and that will improve life for others.

why donors leave 2Looking at this recent infographic from Bloomerang, it’s quite clear to me that most donors stop supporting an organization because they don’t feel that they’re truly making a difference.  Almost all of the reasons listed point directly to this fact.

5% – Thought the charity didn’t need them.  This one’s obvious:  the donor, for whatever reason, feels that their donation isn’t really needed or won’t really help.  Continual stewardship is important to communicate HOW that donation – whatever the amount – has helped your cause.

8% – Received no information on how their donation was used.  Donors aren’t mind readers.  The only way they will know how their donation has affected the lives of others is if WE tell them – regularly!  Not communicating this information is detrimental to building loyal, dedicated donors.

9% – No memory of supporting.  WOW!  This should be eye-opening to us all!  As private donations become more and more important to nonprofit organizations everywhere, it can’t be stated enough that if you aren’t making yourself stand out among the competition, your donors will quickly move on to those that do.

13% – Never got thanked for donating.  This flies in the face of cardinal fundraising rule #1:  ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS thank your donors.  If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from my many years in donor relations, it’s that you can never thank a donor enough.  So, if 13% of donors say they never got thanked it means 1 of 2 things:  1) The organization never sent any form of thanks, or 2) the donor was thanked but it was not sincere, personal, or authentic and so was quickly forgotten.

16% – Death.  OK – this one makes sense.

18% – Poor service or communication.  This feeds directly into everything else: no thank you, no follow up on how donations were used, or no reflection on the difference the donation has made.  Unfortunately this also usually means no second gifts.

36% – Others more deserving.  Clearly if it’s felt that other organizations or causes are more deserving, then communication is severely lacking.  Development professionals must make it a priority to make a strong case for continued loyalty to their cause.

54% – Could no longer afford.  I’ve been told many times by donors that due to changes in their personal lives, they’ve had to narrow down which programs and causes to support.  You don’t want your organization to be on the short list when this happens.  And, one of the best ways to do that is to make sure that your donors know that they truly make a difference.

Dedicated donors rarely just walk into our lives.  They are created through authentic engagement that makes them feel appreciated and valued.  They want to know that their support makes a difference in the world – it’s up to us to ensure that they do!

Let me know what steps you’ve taken to ensure that your donors know they’re making a difference, by leaving a comment below.

Photo credit:  Infographic


About dknotek2015

I am a Development Director for the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno. Having worked in the Development and Alumni Relations Department for the past eight years, I have a unique background in development, philanthropy, and relationship building. I am a University of Nevada, Reno alum as well as a current MBA candidate. You could say I am silver and blue through and through! I am passionate about helping others. I understand how important education is to our local community, the nation, and the world. I remember struggling as a student to finish my own education, and how grateful I was when I received support through the generosity of others. As a professional, I excel at securing private donations which support the students, faculty, programs, and research of the College of Science. I am uniquely qualified to bring potential donors together with areas about which they are passionate and feel compelled to support.
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