Barbara O’Reilly, CFRE, the founder of Windmill Hill Consulting, shares her insights on the challenges nonprofits face in navigating declining donor rates, serving as a valuable resource for nonprofits striving to create more meaningful connections with their supporters. Her insights are a reminder that, by prioritizing the donor experience and utilizing available technology, nonprofits can better engage with their donors and ultimately make a more significant impact in their communities.
She begins by emphasizing the significance of donor retention rates and the troubling statistic that, on average, 80% of first-time donors do not return. O’Reilly stressed the importance of prioritizing the donor experience, likening it to the customer service provided in the hospitality and retail industries. She explained how personalized communication, onboarding, and a focus on creating a strong partnership can significantly impact donor retention.
Furthermore, Barbara points out the critical role of data, automation, and artificial intelligence in understanding donors and providing tailored experiences. She highlights how industries like retail and hospitality excel in using customer data to enhance user experiences and suggested that nonprofits could benefit from a similar approach.
One of the key takeaways from this insightful conversation was the need for nonprofits to rethink their donor communication strategies. Barbara encourages organizations to conduct regular audits of their communications to ensure they convey a sense of impact and transformation through compelling stories, rather than overwhelming donors with statistics.
In her own words, Barbara highlights the importance of this shift in mindset: “We’ve got to think our mindset around these donors so that it keeps them around longer.”