Among first-time donors to nonprofit organizations, the median rate of attrition is 77 percent! In other words, more than three-quarters of all new donors to a charity walk in the front door and promptly exit out the back door. That’s the appalling finding of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Fundraising Effectiveness Project.
As I worked on those articles, I couldn’t help but wonder: What’s new and effective that can help us build donor loyalty? Well, we’ll soon find out.
Adrian Sargeant, PhD, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at Plymouth University, will be presenting “Building Donor Loyalty: What’s New?” at the AFP International Fundraising Conference (Baltimore, March 29-31, 2015).
Sargeant has been passionately conducting donor loyalty research for two decades. Sargeant and his colleague Elaine Jay wrote Building Donor Loyalty: The Fundraiser’s Guide to Increasing Lifetime Value. Tom Ahern, the internationally recognized communications expert at the helm of Ahern Donor Communications, has described the text as: “Transformational.” I cited this informative book in my post: “Avoid Making Faulty Assumptions about Donor Loyalty.”
In his upcoming session at the AFP International Conference, Sargeant will demonstrate how even small improvements in loyalty, in the here and now, translate to whopping improvements in the lifetime value of a fundraising database.
Sargeant will also look at what drives loyalty, drawing on lessons from both the commercial and the voluntary sectors, including work on the big three drivers of loyalty: satisfaction, commitment and trust. He will also explore new work on loyalty that looks at the role of donor identity and the extent to which donors identify themselves in part through their support of a nonprofit.
Sargeant will show how the concept of identity interacts with the other three big drivers of loyalty and which of all these factors offers the greatest potential to the sector to bolster giving and grow long-term support.
Sargeant told me recently: