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6 Important Metrics for Tracking Major Donor Relationships (Sponsored Content)

Stewardship & Marketing: Donor Relations/Stewardship
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With 90% of a nonprofit’s fundraising revenue coming from just 10% of its donor base, the impact that major donors can have on your mission is clear. Tracking major donor relationships ensures you’re keeping these critical supporters engaged, while also seeing how you can tap into their wider networks for additional support.

But what metrics should you be tracking for major donors? Below, we’ll introduce you to six data points that are essential for nonprofit organizations to review. With this data, you can maintain and grow your major donor cohort.   
 

1. Meaningful Connections  
 

Donor stewardship is the process of building and maintaining strong relationships with donors to ensure their continued support. This requires regular communication and engagement.

Major donors, in particular, require a higher level of interaction. You don’t want these highly generous members of your community to think that you’ve forgotten about them. By keeping track of each touchpoint you have with them, you can ensure you never leave them hanging.

Track the number of meaningful connections you make with your major donors, such as:

  • Personal phone calls
  • Handwritten notes
  • Invitations to events
  • Updates on your nonprofit
  • Appreciation activities

Collecting these donor stewardship metrics can help you understand how well you are connecting with your major donors and identify areas for improvement.  
 

2. Holistic Involvement  
 

Holistic involvement refers to the level of engagement and involvement of major donors beyond financial contributions. This includes activities such as:

  • Introducing their network to your organization
  • Volunteering their time and skills
  • Serving on advisory boards

Tracking this metric helps you understand the overall engagement and commitment of your major donors, providing insights into their potential for long-term support and advocacy. The more involved a major donor is in the various facets of your organization, the more they’ll see their contributions to your work as a key piece of their identity.  
 

3. Donor Retention Rate  
 

Donor retention rate measures the percentage of major donors who continue to support your organization year after year. A high retention rate indicates that donors are engaged and committed to your cause. On the other hand, if you see your retention rate decline, it’s a sign to review your donor stewardship plans to see where your connections need additional support.

Tracking donor retention is important for a variety of reasons. A crucial aspect is that it costs far less to retain a current major donor than to recruit a new one. You’ll be saving costs on marketing and outreach if you can maintain your current major donor relationships.   
 

4. Donation Retention Rate  
 

While your donor retention rate looks at the number of donors you’re keeping year after year, your donation retention rate looks at whether those donors are giving gifts of the same size or more each year. Life happens, and it’s common for donors to need to reduce their financial contributions from time to time.

However, ongoing or overall dips in your donation retention rate can reveal where your donor stewardship efforts may be waning. Tracking this metric can help you identify which major donors are the most loyal and engaged, and which may need more attention to ensure their giving amounts don’t fall out of your major donor range.  
 

5. Donor Upgrades  
 

Coupled with donation retention rate, you’ll want to track how many major donors are actually increasing their giving levels or upgrading their support for your nonprofit over time. While some major donors may give a set amount each year, you don’t want to risk your relationships with them becoming stagnant.

Tracking upgrades, whether a larger financial gift or more involvement with your programming, ensures your major donors are feeling engaged. This metric demonstrates the success of your cultivation and stewardship efforts in encouraging donors to deepen their commitment to your organization. It also highlights the potential for increased giving from existing donors.  
 

6. Net Donor Lifetime Value  
 

It costs money to recruit new major donors, but with proper donor stewardship, those costs should pay for themselves over time as your major donors continue to give to your nonprofit. Net donor lifetime value reveals the net benefits of long-term donor retention. You can use it to amortize your major donor acquisition costs over the donor’s lifetime.

This metric can help you understand the long-term value of your donors and identify which are most valuable to your organization. It can also shed light on the effectiveness of your major donor recruitment plan and whether you need to consider budgeting for more upfront costs or looking at where you can cut back and still build strong relationships.  
 

Recruit and Retain Major Donors With the Right Data  
 

Tracking the above metrics can help your nonprofit gain valuable insights into your major donor relationships and make data-driven decisions to improve engagement and retention. Remember to focus on building meaningful connections with donors, retaining loyal supporters, and providing excellent stewardship to ensure the long-term success of your organization.

Instil was built to help manage the high-touch fundraising workflows that major donors require. If you’re ready for a software solution that will make your major donor cultivation process easier and more effective, contact the Instil team through our website!  
 

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