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Donor Retention: What Do We Know & What Can We Do About It?

August 13, 2013

Donor retention is key to a sustainable base of individual giving. What drives customers to stay, and what affects their behavior? This paper outlines the actions nonprofits can take to improve donor loyalty.

Growing Philanthropy in the United States: A Report on the June 2011 Washington, D.C. Growing Philanthropy Summit

October 1, 2011

This paper summarizes the Summit's conclusions and recommendations in four categories: enhancing the quality of donor relationships; developing public trust and confidence in the sector; identifying new audiences, channels, and forms of giving with a strong potential for growth; and improving the quality of fundraising training and development. It addresses these issues in light of research showing that individual giving has remained flat despite advances in fundraising practices and the emergence of new digital channels. With bibliographical references.

Donor Commitment - What Is It, What Drives It and Why Does It Matter?

February 1, 2005

Profs Adrian Sargeant and Paul Farthing discuss their study on donor commitment in the United Kingdom. Most charities aim to have the maximum possible number of 'committed' givers on their donor database: those who agree to give on a regular basis through their bank. For charities, those donors tend to exhibit high retention rates, cost less in terms of ongoing communications, and therefore return a high lifetime value. However, recent findings show that the commitment of donors may not be for the long term. Working with five charities, the authors attempted to define and measure donor commitment, determine what drives it, and to identify the impact of commitment on perceived and actual donor loyalty. A key lesson is that a charity should look at the donors attitudes and actual behavior to assess a donor's commitment.

Determinants of U. S. Donor Behavior: The Case of Bequests

June 1, 2004

The authors assembled a panel of five US nonprofits currently engaged in the solicitation of legacy gifts. Working with these five partners we designed a quantitative research study with the following objectives, namely to:a) Identify factors that prompt an individual to offer a bequest.b) Identify the environmental triggers that might prompt an individual to offer a bequest (e.g. prompting by a professional, prompting by a charity, loss of a loved one etc.)c) Identify the best prospects for legacy/bequest 'asks'.d) Identify how various categories of 'bequest ask' communications are perceived by donors.e) Identify the relationship between stated intentions to pledge and actual bequests made. It is interesting to note that the direct marketing agencies working with lower value bequests in the UK estimate that over 80% of pledgers are lying and fail to follow through on their promise. In our own academic study conducted in the UK, the figure was found to be much smaller. We could identify no related studies on this topic to date in the US.