7 drivers of donor loyalty

While fundraisers are constantly searching for ways to expand organizational donor bases, making sure that existing donors keep giving is integral to continuing missions and keeping the lights on.

In her book, “Donor Cultivation and the Donor Lifecycle Map,” Deborah Kaplan Polivy relays seven drivers of donor loyalty:

Quality of service. Timely acknowledgement of donations, willingness and ability to answer question and complaints, and the providing of regular updates on the use of contributions can all increase donor satisfaction.

Show urgency. How would a lack of contributions impact beneficiaries? Is there an immediate need to solve a problem? What would it mean if your organization closed its doors?

Establish trust. With reports of charity scandals on donors’ minds, find ways to create trust that your organization will use donors’ money wisely, including being honest about successes and failures.

Find alignments between the beliefs of the donor and beliefs of the organization. Creating a long-term philanthropic relationship cannot happen if the donor’s beliefs do not match the organization’s mission and approach to reaching goals

Make sure that the donor’s understanding of the organization deepens over time. Are they learning? Donors who have had the most engagement with an organization over their giving lifetime will be the easiest to reactivate.

Personal connection to the organization’s mission can define the organization’s importance to the donor. For instance, has a donor contributing to an organization committed to fighting cancer lost a loved one to cancer?

Individuals who are engaged in organizations in multiple facets tend to be the most committed. Beyond making donations, this could include signing petitions, attending events, organizing activities, volunteering and introducing others to the organization.