Retention is the New Acquisition. This is a quote from a good article in the Agitator, Flat Earth Fundraising: Catch & Release Fishing. This is a quote we need to hear.
I work mostly with missionaries; there are a few churches and colleges, but mostly missionaries. Missionaries may have mailing lists of 350, 500, 700 people. Just think if a mailing list of 500 people all gave $15 a month. This would be $7500 in monthly giving. That would be $7500 per month without getting one new team member.
However the individual raising funds who has 700-500 names on a mailing list is the same one who says, “I need new donors and new methods for new donor acquisition.” The response should then be, “You have a data base full of champions waiting to go deeper. Work to retain and migrate this group before we go fishing for more.”
In the same article the author touches on that some of our ‘churning out’ methods on our donor mills to get new donors simply leads to destructive patterns. So instead of churning more and more what if we increased what, Adrian Sargeant and Elaine Jay call, donor loyalty. They say, “Increasing donor loyalty by 10% today, increases lifetime value of the fundraising database by up to 200%.” In TG language we would say…migrating/discipling champions in their journey of giving is the equivalent of increasing loyalty.
So if increased loyalty of 10% produces an increase in lifetime value, think what adding the spiritual element of Transformational Giving will do for the believer seeking to follow God’s will. Funding is not to be snatch and grab, or catch and release, but an act of faith in God. The fund-raiser who is not focused on catch and release is the one who cares more for the giver than the gift, thus avoiding a destructive method of “churn and burn.”
I want to suggest before we start looking for more ways to raise funds, we first improve current relationships. Care for the champion. Reciprocate loyalty. And share the discipleship journey with the person giving. All of which will strengthen retention.