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Are You Losing or Gaining Donors?  By Liz Hall

Stay on Top of Losing and Gaining Donors

Are you gaining enough donors to offset the ones you’re losing? Every nonprofit organization, regardless of how large or small they are, needs to know the answer to this question.

While revenue metrics are important, keeping an eye on the number of donors you have has become equally important. Every organization loses up to 1/3 of their donors every year. How many will you lose?

To find the answer to this important question, let’s use a bucket analogy as a tool:

Fill Your Bucket 

Adding new donors and reactivating lapsed donors is the lifeblood of every organization. Put strategies in place to acquire and re-engage donors year-round, with a special emphasis during the times of year when there is an impactful reason for donors to give to your organization. For many organizations, that’s the fall giving season. How many new and reactivated donors did your organization add in the past 12 months

Minimize Leaks

Donors continue to give because they believe in the organization’s mission and trust their gifts can make a difference. Stay focused on consistent, donor-focused communication through all available channels. How many donors have given to your organization in the past 12 months (not including the new and reactivated donors)?

Lost Water 

There is no way around it. You will lose donors; this is just the natural attrition of a donor file. How many donors stopped giving to your organization in the last 13+ months?

Is the combined quantity of the new and reactivated donors higher than the number of donors who stopped giving?

Hopefully the answer is yes. This means your organization is doing a nice job offsetting donor attrition and growing! And if the answer is no, the time to act is now!

Our team would be happy to put the right strategies in place for your organization.


Liz Hall is a consultant in Client Services for Douglas Shaw & Associates. She is part of an organization that’s built its entire practice on creating the right mix of touchpoints that help ministries and nonprofits connect with people who are seeking a way to be a part of their good work.

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