Ideas for Non-Profits: Strengthening Bonds with Donors

Posted on by Christine DeLooze | No Comments »

Engaging existing donors, volunteers and supporters is critical to the operation of not-for-profit organizations. According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2010 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report, “For every $4.50 the nonprofit organizations gained in upgraded, new, and recovered gifts, a little more than $6 was lost in downgraded and lapsed gifts. For every 5.4 new donors recruited, slightly more than 6 donors were lost through attrition.” Retaining volunteers is also a challenge. The average national volunteer retention rate is 65% (approximately one out of three volunteers who volunteer in one year, do not volunteer the next).

PODi has just completed a new study, “Not-for-Profit Solution: Strengthening Relationships with Donors and Supporters” exploring key direct mail tactics for retaining supporters that are powered by digital print solutions. We’ve discovered that one of the main challenges marketers face in this space is nurturing connections.

We’ve identified four ideas that work for nurturing donors successfully:

  1. Gathering data on supporters to learn more about them
  2. Soliciting feedback
  3. Engaging donors with relevant dialogue
  4. Using automation to speed fulfillment of donor packages

By learning what individuals value the most, not-for-profits can better target their communications.

An example of how one organization got valuable feedback is provided by the case study on the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Western Pennsylvania.They mailed versioned postcards to people who had adopted cats or dogs from the shelter

Personalized URLs directed people to online survey pages, to provide feedback  and enter to win a gift card. The pages included a link for easy online donations, and thank-you emails were sent to everyone who responded.


  • 11.4% went to their Personalized URL and 10.7% completed the survey
  • Only 2% had discovered ARL from radio or TV ads, leading ARL to rethink their media mix
  • Customers felt ARL needed to speed up the adoption process,but thought the volunteer staff was great
  • ARL collected over 300 new email addresses for future communication
  • Donations more than paid for the campaign

You’ll find details and case studies on all four of these ‘ideas that work’ in the full “Not-for-Profit Solution: Strengthening Relationships with Donors and Supporters.” This paper is a PODi member exclusive, designed to be used by marketers and by creative solution sales teams to get insight into customer needs and best practice solutions. It is the 4th in a series of Vertical Market White Papers that examine key challenges and solutions based on the PODi case study database.

PODi members: read the full paper “Not-for-Profit Solution: Strengthening Relationships with Donors and Supporters”

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