‘Donor churn’; the on again and off again (and on and off and on…) cycle that typifies the catch and release world of acquisition and lack of retention. To state the obvious, “acquiring” the same donor over and over again is less than ideal.
Why do they leave? What is the nonprofit sector doing to address it?
Few organizations have a good handle on why donors leave. At best, an individual charity may identify the straw that broke the camel’s back; namely the most recent or top of mind pain point felt by the donor. Even then that only happens if the charity asks. The vast majority do not.
Fixing churn requires addressing the root causes by determining, at each interaction point, across all channels (web, donor service, email, direct mail, face to face) whether the organization delivered a positive or negative experience. In short, it requires fixing churn before donors have already decided, as a result of the organization’s action, they are leaving.
There are four unspoken mindsets and, by extension, approaches (or lack of them), that undermine meaningful efforts to address the churn problem. The result, as evidenced by the widely available data, is retention rates getting worse, not better, over time.
This paper reviews each of these issues in detail and identifies the fix for each one. These fixes are not theoretical. They are very real and practical. They are being implemented by charities all across the globe. Unfortunately, these organizations are the exception, not the rule.