As an event planner, you've carefully coordinated your event to attract donors. But did you know that prospecting for new donors is generally more expensive than connecting with your existing ones? Consider these four tips to improve your donor retention -- and your success metrics!


Measure Your Donor Retention Rate


You''ve already attracted your donors,  but now you need to continue working on maintaining your relationships and calculate your donor retention rate. In order to do this, you have to know what your numbers are. Take the number of donors who contributed to your organization for one year, then divide it by the number of donors from that same group of donors that made a donation for the second year.


Donor Retention Rate = (Donors Who Gave Last Year - Donors Who Gave Lat Year, But Not This Year) / (Donors Who Gave Last Year)


Perhaps you had 500 donors in year one, and only 100 of those initial 500 donors returned for year two. By using the formula previously provided -- your donor retention rate is 0.20%.


Compare Your Donor Retention Rate


Donor retention rates are most helpful if you have something to compare them to. If this is the first time you've calculated your retention rate, you will need to go back and calculate rates for previous years.


Perhaps your research is showing that your retention rates are declining from year to year. The best way to identify the cause is by examining retention rates in each donor segment for your organization. Alumni, families, and multi-year donors are all examples of donor type segments.


Compare your donor segment retention rate to other donor type segments, for instance alumni to families. Next, compare the same segment to different years, such as the alumni segments between years 2013 and 2014. By contrasting differences between the two calculations, you'll be able to determine your strengths and weaknesses. According to Adrian Sergeant, a fundraising researcher, improving your donor retention rate by just 10 percent can double the lifetime value of your donor database.


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