Charities Show Strides in Keeping Loyal Donors, But Are Too Focused on Short-Term Results, Scholars Say

Loyalty = $$$

By Holly Hall

Charities made strides in the past year as they sought to persuade new donors to give again and to increase the amount such supporters contribute for second or third gifts, a study has found.

But nonprofit organizations are wasting money by putting too much effort into constantly replacing large numbers of donors who never make a repeat gift when they should be making investments that would provide significantly more fundraising return in the long term, the researchers said.

For every $100 in new donations the 3,576 groups in the survey received in 2013, they lost an average $92 from supporters who failed to give again and others who contributed less than they had previously. That was an improvement over 2012, when charities in the study lost $96 in donations, on average, for every $100 they received, and much better than in 2008 and 2009, when charities in the study lost $119 for every $100 they received in new contributions,

Promoting loyalty among donors is a struggle for groups, but failing to do so is hurting their bottom lines, the researchers said. Only 43 percent of donors who made a gift in 2012 did so again in 2013, the study found.

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