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How to Retain Your Top Donors

July 4, 2016 | Hannah Abrams

According to, three out of four donors never return after an initial donation. However, it can cost five times more to acquire new donors than to retain existing donors. This means your nonprofit should focus its efforts on retaining your top donors instead of harnessing all of its fundraising efforts on garnering new donors.

To keep your top donors interested, your nonprofit has to be top-of-mind.

Here are five ways to keep your top donors invested.

1. Keep in communication

The easiest thing you can do to retain your top donors revolves around simply touching base. First, you always should send handwritten thank-you cards, but from there, it’s important to keep a calendar reminding you to check-in with them.


Your communication efforts should use multiple touch points, so that you’re reaching your donors via their preferred channels. Make sure your outreach is personalized so that your donors know you care about their individual involvement.

2. Ask for constructive criticism 

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to please everyone. Instead of letting a donor go because of unintentional neglect, always be sure to ask how you’re doing with your campaign efforts.


Send your top donors branded comment cards that allow them to indicate their levels of satisfaction with your customer service. If nothing else, it can be positive feedback that reaffirms you’re doing a great job.

3. Show how they’ve helped

Of course, donors always want to know how they’ve helped. If their monetary donations contributed to creating a new public park or outfitting impoverished students with new school uniforms, let them know. Use a branded picture frame to display the positive changes the donors helped foster.


4. Send a small gift

You don’t have to give your donors anything extravagant for them to know that you care. A branded tote bag or a classic T-shirt can demonstrate the value of their generous donations.


Plus, whenever they utilize those branded products, they’ll be a walking advertisement for your cause.

5. Invite them to an appreciation night

Hosting an appreciation event for all your donors can be a great way to showcase your gratitude. Host a fundraising raffle to increase donations and give away everything from branded coffee mugs to branded watches.


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