How to Increase Online Donor Retention


What makes a donor donate again? Recent studies have shown that 3/4 donors do not return.

You may have thought gaining donors was the hard part - turns out that's the easy part!

Donors are more likely to return if they have had a positive interaction with the organization who received the donation. This includes feeling appreciated, recognized, and that their donation made a tangible difference. This comes from a high level of personal engagement with donors and goes beyond a generic 'thank you' email.


Many non-profits fail to provide donors with personalized thank you's or recognition, but will contact those donors when it comes time for another campaign. What kind of relationship do you have with your donors, if you continue to take and give them nothing in return? 

A relationship that will end very soon. 

Like all relationships, your donors need to feel valued and appreciated. That's why, we recommend using your online platforms to deepen connections with the donors you already have, rather than chasing after new ones.

Strengthening existing relationships will increase donations per person, donor retention, and inspire others to get involved as well.


Engaging your base can be achieved through use of social media, emails, and leveraging your website.

Consider posting photos of those who donated, conducting interviews, or tag persons in posts to make a public 'thank you'. This would help to produce content, incentivize persons to donate, and offer recognition.

Studies have demonstrated that joint online and offline campaigns improve donor engagement. Organizations retain about 58% of multi-channel donors, as opposed to retaining only 29% of offline-only donors and 23% of online-only donors (as recorded in 2013). Set up avenues for donors to give both on and offline, making it easier for them to give, share, and get involved.

Donor engagement is also increased by peer-to-peer fundraising tactics. Read our blog post for more information.


You should be using your channels to entertain your donors all year round. This can be in the form of videos, photos, and live story functions. Consider going live at an event; interview persons who contributed to the cause, feature volunteers, and so on. This is a great way to depict what happens at events, form a sense of community, recognize key persons, and demonstrate impact. You could also utilize these functions to offer thank you videos done by the organization or those helped by the donations.


Your organization is most likely tackling some big issues. Whether it is taking on environmental degradation, a health crisis, or social injustices; the public has to understand what the cause is before they are motivated to support it. Use your website to publish information regarding the problems your organization aims to solve, and direct people to these resources through your social media channels. This will provide content for your supporters to share with friends and help your base become more educated on the subject - making them more compelling advocates for your mission.

Show Impact.

You are doing incredible things with donations, so be sure your donors know about it. Everyone giving money wants to see how it was used and the positive impact it had. These messages can be conveyed through newsletters, emails, videos, and regular social media posts. Show how far your organization has come and how your donors made it all possible.


Implementing some of these suggestions may increase donor retention, but more importantly, it will help create a community of supporters around your cause. It helps to ensure your donors are engaged and truly believe in what you are doing.


It is difficult to strike a balance between donor cultivation and donor acquisition, so we urge you to invest your efforts in the donors you already have.

All you can do is hold up your side of the relationship and hope your donors continue to hold up theirs.

Give thanks so people will give.

Resourcesnicole roach