The biggest revenue problem most organisations have is not being able to retain their supporters and donors.
At Parachute Digital, we do A LOT of acquisition work. Organisations are losing donors at a faster rate than they can gain them. It’s not hard to gain a donor, but it’s expensive ($300+ per donor).
What we try to do is find supporters who fit the demographic profile that an organisation wants and then take them on a journey to find out if their values match the mission.
People don’t give to charity on an impulse. Guilt may play a small part in some donations, if the person asking is able to leverage that emotion in relation to the story they’re telling.
But most people give for 2 primary reasons:
1. because it is something they feel strongly about. Are passionate enough to put their money where their mouth is
2. Or because it makes them feel good.
But you don’t feel good if you’re giving to a cause that you don’t care about. In those situations donors still suffer buyer’s remorse.
As marketers and fundraisers responsible for acquiring new supporters, donors or customers, we must do a better job of matching an individual’s values to the organisations mission. Without this the donors are dropping like flies and at a cost per acquisition of $350-400 this is just plain ridiculous.
Consistent focus & investment in acquisition
We find ourselves in these never ending, vicious cycle of growing investment in fundraising so as to acquire more donors. Sustaining that for a couple of years, growing our donor base and our revenue and the board will cut the fundraising budget to put the money into other areas. Often the money goes into delivering the programs that are the core mission of the organisation – which is the reason people give and the reason we are raising money. This could be mitigated somewhat if there was more effort, money and focus put into retaining those donors and upgrading them.
When fundraising investment is cut, acquisition also drops. If the acquisition budget was at least kept level, fundraising teams should become better at their job and over time, more efficient. But this isn’t happening in too many cases. Then inevitably, a few years later the new fundraising director is back in front of the board asking for more investment in acquisition.
This is happening everywhere – in every organisation and every sector that I come across. I understand the operational and political quandary of wanting the largest budget allocation to be in the core mission work, but it’s literally wasting (future) donor’s money if fundraising acquisition investment is not kept sustained.
More focus needed on retention
So while non-profit organisations need to keep a sustained acquisition budget, they MUST do a better job in retention.
At Parachute Digital our focus on telling stories that the supporters care about and matching their values to the organisation’s mission, during the acquisition strategy, is paying dividends.
- Our Digital Donors open and click on more emails.
- The respond to more asks (action and financial) and they stick with the organisation for longer.
- 50% more donors are still around at the end of the first year (of giving every month) than those donors that come through face to face (F2F).
- And digital donors cost less to acquire.
- And they share the content with their network of friends.
- And the great stories and journey that we use to onboard them to the organisation, can be used for re-energising existing supporters (equals more ROI on investment made).
- One thing I’ll concede is that they do give a little less. Online acquired regular givers average about $21 month while F2F regular givers average $26.
But when they cost less to acquire, 50% more of them stick around for longer, and you can give them a great experience that they want to share – it’s a no brainer which way to go.
Parachute Digital does loads of successful digital donor acquisition strategies – the reason we’re successful is because we focus on retention from the start.
Let us help you onboard your important donors
If you want to do a better job acquiring donors online AND building an online nurture journey that your donors will love you for. Call us. We offer consulting packages in exactly this type of onboarding as well as training for smaller organisations who need the guidance so they can do it themselves.
Download the information for our Digital Donor Acquisition course. Or see more digital marketing and fundraising courses here.