Have you taken a close look at your donor retention from last year?
Specifically, you want to discover what percentage of your donors from 2013 gave a gift in 2014. Measuring your retention rates each year is hugely important because it’s a critical indicator of weather your fundraising is improving… or not.
Here’s a quick reminder of how to calculate your own retention rates:
- From your database, query unique donors in 2013. Count each donor only once.
- Query donors who gave in both 2013 AND 2014.
- Take your answer from #2 and divide by your answer to #1; multiply by 100. Add a % sign.
- This is your 2014 retention rate – The % of donors from 2013 who renewed their giving in 2014.
For example, lets say we had 1100 unique donors in 2013. Of those donors, 640 also gave in 2014.
[640/1100 =.581] x 100 = 58.1] Our 2014 retention rate would be 58%.
Compare Yourself to Others
Once you’ve found your retention rate, you’ll want to get a sense of how you compare with other nonprofits. The recently released 2014 Fundraising Effectiveness Project found that the average nonprofit retained 43% of their donors, which is slightly up from 39% in 2013.
Other Important Things-to-Do This Month
I put together a Guide to Calculating Retention Rates to walk you through the other helpful measurements related to retention. You can download it for free here.
I’m also a huge advocate of the annual donor review, which uncovers trends and helps you understand the gift potential within your donor database. What you learn through this process informs your individual fundraising strategy for the coming year.
In the world of nonprofit fundraising, February is the time to take a break from the intensity of year-end. But there is important work to be done this month. It’s the perfect time to schedule a quiet day, grab a coffee, and take a look at what happened over the past year. Then you’ll be able to determine where you want to go in the year ahead.