A kick up the pants on donor loyalty

by Christiana Stergiou

Tiny Essentials of Donor Loyalty may just give your organisation the good kick up the pants that it needs, and that’s just what author Adrian Sargeant thinks many in our sector need.

In the first sentence of Tiny Essentials of Donor Loyalty, Adrian says “building donor loyalty is the single biggest challenge facing our sector today”.

Can that really be true? Yes, says Adrian. There’s huge potential to increase fundraising when we get it right. “We are wasting potentially enormous sums of money by failing to address the issue,” he says.

Because building donor loyalty will mean that you raise more money. Here’s how Adrian explains:

Even small improvements in donor loyalty can have a huge impact on the returns an organisation is able to generate from its fundraising…

Typically a 10 per cent improvement in the level of loyalty now increases the lifetime value of the fundraising database by around 50 per cent… Over time the effect mounts up. Begin to look out over a five-year horizon and small improvements in loyalty achieved now can deliver real fundraising value tomorrow.

Well, what does getting it right entail? Firstly an understanding of what constitutes loyalty. And secondly, taking practical actions to improve donor loyalty.

Adrian defines the three key drivers of donor loyalty as satisfaction, commitment and trust. He clearly outlines why each of those factors is important and what actions fundraisers and organisations can take to improve them.

For example, Adrian includes an excellent outline on how to build trust, and each of the five points below are detailed further in the book.

  1. Being seen to exercise role competence (Fundraisers need to demonstrate that the organisation has the requisite skills and abilities to achieve its mission.)
  2. Drip feeding data on performance. (Is it using is resources wisely? And what outcome is it achieving?)
  3. Being honest when things go wrong.
  4. Being seen to exercise good judgment.
  5. Adhering to appropriate standards of professional conduct.

Tiny Essentials of Donor Loyalty also includes findings from areas of the corporate sector that focus on customer loyalty. One of particular interest explores the concept of identity.

Research taking place in psychology, economics and marketing has recently explored how the essence of whom we are drives what we choose to support. Causes and organisations that more closely align with our sense of self-identity will tend to attract higher levels of loyalty from us than those that do not… When a person identifies with an organisation he or she perceives a sense of connectedness with it and begins to define him or herself (at least in part) in terms of the supported organisation.

Each chapter is filled with practical steps that organisations can take to ‘bolster’ loyalty. In just 65 tiny pages you can become an expert on donor loyalty in your lunch hour. But the smart fundraiser or an organisation that’s serious about improving its fundraising will take immediate action to significantly improve their efforts to build donor loyalty as a result of reading this book.

You can order your own copy from the lovely fundraising book publishers at White Lion Press.

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