Is Donor Retention THAT Bad?

I read another article about how bad donor retention is: this one. Not only is rentention abysmal…it’s also a crisis.

“Donor retention is at 40% or less”. You’ve seen similar stats – I presented Irish stats myself that saw 40-50% of monthly donors say goodbye in the first year. I’d be the first to say we’re not doing enough to keep donors happy.

It’s true, there are huge amounts you could be doing to improve your own donor retention right now…but let’s stop for a second and ask, “Is donor retention that bad?”

Well, how is everyone else faring?

  • About 45% of gym members quit in the first 6 months.
  • 25% of people give up on New Year’s resolutions in the first week. 88% of people eventually give up.
  • Ninety-one percent of Millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years.
  • The average worker today stays at each of his or her jobs for 4.4 years.
  • Remember The Cranberries? When they released the album ‘No Need To Argue’ they sold about 1 million copies in the UK alone. 5 years later about 7% of that number were still buying their new stuff.

We are flaky…we are fickle. The banjo, surfboard, pond pump and juggling equipment I have in storage are proof of that. And those are physical objects: I got something in return for my money. The majority of charities aren’t showing donors what their money is doing, and yet we’re still beating so many industries.

My first ever monthly donation – to UNHCR about 10 years ago – only ended because I maxed out my credit card trying to get to Adelaide to meet a ginger-haired Danish girl who claimed to be a witch in her previous life.

Yes, let’s keep scolding each other for our poor retention. Let’s work together to improve it through care, love and technical wizardry. Let’s not get complacent – We have so much to do.

But let’s allow ourselves one blog post a year to say, hey, donor retention isn’t that bad.


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