Donor Attrition | Gaining new donors is an important part of fundraising strategy, but maintaining your donor database over time is equally vital. A good donation management platform can make it easier for nonprofits to manage information from previous contributors and connect with them consistently enough to receive donations for many years.

According to a report from Fundraising Effectiveness Project, a collaboration between the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Urban Institution, donor attrition can be very costly. The report found that every $1.1 billion gained in donated gifts was offset by $1.1 billion lost from lapsed donors and previous contributors who decreased gifts. In 2011, every 100 donors gained were offset by 107 lapsed givers.

In addition, your organization’s current benefactors could represent more of your income than funds contributed by new donors. Strengthening Nonprofits cited data from Giving USA Foundation, which found that 10 percent of an organization’s donors provide most of its income – between 50 to 70 percent.

The data provided by donation management systems can help nonprofits make better decisions about how to allocation fundraising resources for the best gain.

Donation management software is the key to keeping relationships alive

Since there is a certain amount of attrition, even among your most loyal donors, it’s important to gain a certain amount of new givers each year. However, nurturing past contributors may be a more effective strategy in the long run. To do this effectively, you need to have a donation management platform that makes it easy to search for previous contacts and look up their information. A really effective system will also allow you to group donors from the same household into one file so that you don’t contact them unnecessarily or bombard them with phone calls.

According to Strengthening Nonprofits, recognizing donor contributions is one of the most important ways to continue receiving donations year over year. This means sending out thank you emails from executives, and keeping them up to date with newsletters is an important part of keeping them in the loop. If you just take your donation and leave them in the dark, it’s unlikely you’ll hear from them again. As Strengthening Nonprofits puts it, a lack of communication can demonstrate to donors that they don’t need a contribution, which certainly won’t inspire a response.

Keep track of your donor base, and make sure you ask for updated contact information every once in a while. You should also personalize your communications as often as possible so that donors understand the importance of their individual contributions.