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Donors are the lifeblood of your not-for-profit. A new report even suggests your donor relationships aren't merely about raising money, but also stewarding their capacity to love.

We all know that recruiting new donors is far more expensive than retaining your existing ones and when you consider the true costs of losing existing supporters, that means more appeals, fewer major gifts in future and the reduction in donor referral.

Regular donors are your best advocates and will ultimately do more for your cause than a one-off contribution. We’ve rounded up a quick list of the many ways you can optimise your database of existing donors.


Ensure that you’re using a robust CRM

If the key to marketing a cause is to care for and develop the bond with their donors, simply working with an offline spreadsheet can be tricky and very quickly becomes out of date. So it’s worth investing in a robust customer relationship management (more commonly known as CRM) system that will make your job easier and more effective in the long run.

A good CRM system should be simple to use, fully customisable to your organisation’s specific activities and goals, and should also be scalable by allowing you to pay for the level of access that you need. It’s also essential that your system is cloud-based so that you can use it anytime, anywhere, without worrying about losing any of your latest data.

There are many cost-effective CRM systems to choose from, two particularly good ones are Monday and Pipedrive.


Keep a record of donor activity

It’s important to make sure that your database is up to date by keeping an accurate record of who is giving what and when, so you can keep a track of the needs of your donors and put them first to enhance the donor experience. You can use this data to keep on track of sending your ‘thank you’s and to determine when the next best window is to reach out to ask for any further donations. You can also use the information in this database to let your donors know how their particular donation was used and the impact it had.


Segment your database

Your database will contain a range of different types of donor – from one-off givers to regular supporters to event fundraisers. So it’s a good idea to segment your database into different groups depending on their giving behaviour.

Once you’ve segmented your groups, you can create separate workflows for targeting your donors. This will enable you to tailor your marketing messages specifically for each group, making your audience far more likely to engage with the message while also helping to cultivate more meaningful relationships with donors to ensure long-term satisfaction, brand loyalty and, ultimately, increased giving.


Use NPS surveys

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a helpful tool for gauging your audience’s loyalty to your cause. Using an NPS survey tool can help you to get a picture of how well your marketing activity is going with your existing donors.

Your NPS survey should be tailored to your different audience segments and should also be personalised to encourage engagement. A good NPS survey will also have a space for your audience to add what they like (or don’t like) about how you communicate with them, helping you to improve how you market your cause to them in future. This kind of 'exit polling' of donors on a regular basis means your organisation can routinely check for service and donor care problems that could result in losing supporters.


With these tips in mind, you can now start using your database of donors effectively to increase engagement and retention. If you’re looking for further support on how to communicate with your existing audience of donors, get in touch with us today.

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