2018 Donor Retention Toolkit

Donor Acquisition and Retention

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You made it! You survived the stress and exhilaration of the year-end fundraising season intact. That’s a huge feat!

After taking a few days to catch up on rest (and to clear out those leftover Christmas cookies), take some time to turn your attention to your donors. Look over the list of who supported you during the holidays. There are certainly some loyal donors in there. There are new donors. There are large donors and donors who gave small gifts. And they all chose to support you last year. What an amazing gift!

Now comes the hard part. It’s time to build a plan to retain those donors — a way to keep them engaged with your work during 2018.

There’s no one silver bullet that will make donor retention a breeze. But there is one overall mindset that will help: remember that real people saw your work and chose to help you reach your goals. They didn’t give to you because you’re awesome; they donated because they believe in what you’re doing.

Keep that fact in mind as you plan your 2018 donor retention strategies. While you’re planning, here are some Qgiv resources to help!


Donor Retention Email Series

Boost Your Donor Retention! is a 6-part email course on donor retention that covers lots of ground. Each email is brief, easy to read, and packed with techniques and strategies that will help you build relationships with donors.

Fundraising Bootcamp is an online fundraising primer. It’s a great tool that will help beginner fundraisers look at every part of their online fundraising processes from a donor-retention point of view.


Donor Retention Blog Articles

Growing Givers: Donor Cultivation Strategies from the Experts is a great place to start when learning the basics of donor retention.

3 Secrets to Help You Build Donor Loyalty is another great explanation of why basic donor retention methods work.

Donor Stewardship Guide: Create Lifelong Donors in 10 Steps is a complete guide to the donor retention and cultivation process from start to finish.

“Donor Love is Everything”: get donor retention insights from John Lepp, one of the nonprofit industry’s biggest donor advocates.

How to Retain More Donors During Your Annual Campaign is a great read if you’re looking for ways to engage donors who gave to a general campaign, not a specific one.

How to Turn New Donors into Your Fundraising Base is full of insight from Daniel Esrig of Klayvio, who is passionate about helping nonprofits build donor relationships via email.

Show Donor Love with Incredible Thank-You Letters [The Guide]: writing a thank-you that inspires and delights donors is an art. This guide will help.

3 Tips for Turning One-Time Donors into Long-Time Donors with Prospect Research is a great resource for any fundraiser that wants to build long-term relationships with their donors.


Other Donor Retention Resources

Leveraging Your Donor Database for the Best Year-End Ever (webinar): the season of year-end fundraising is over, but the concepts in this webinar are useful all year long.

Midlevel Donors: Epic Insights on the Most Neglected, Misunderstood, & Lucrative Donors (webinar): go beyond donor retention and explore how the relationships you build affect your bottom line.

What They See Is What You Get: Using Viral Storytelling to Engage, Connect & Motivate Your Donors (webinar): reinforce donor relationships with stories that inspire, engage, and cultivate donors.

Template: Donor Stewardship Plan (spreadsheet): our sample donor stewardship plan is a useful template you can customize to suit your own nonprofit’s style.

Five Donor Retention Practices You Can Do in Five Minutes or Less (infographic): great donor retention practices don’t have to take hours. These easy methods only take up to 5 minutes.

Donor Thank-You Email: Sample & Tips (infographic): want to stand out from the crowd? Make an impression on your donors with these tips.

8 Ways to Go Beyond the Thank-You Letter (infographic): you talk to real friends regularly — doing the same with your donors shows them you care! Here are 8 communication ideas that will let them know they matter.


Your donors connected with your work and your mission before they gave to you last year. Keep them connected! Great donor retention methods make donors feel loved, make you feel gratitude, and strengthen relationships with the people who support you.

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