AHP Member Forum

1.  donor retention rate

Posted 10 days ago
Is there an accepted industry standard to calculate donor retention rate and can someone share that formula and specific guidelines/parameters?  Also, do you include donors with multi-year pledges in this calculation, along with annual gift donors?

Thank you for any guidance!

Nancy Colston
Pres & CDO
The Med Ctr Fdn
Gainesville GA
(770) 219-8096

2.  RE: donor retention rate

Posted 9 days ago
Unfortunately, donor attrition ranges from 60%-70%, which results in retention of 30%-40%. Our attrition rate for new donors averages 73%. These percentages are based on the nonprofit sector but have also proven to be accurate for hospital foundations.

Mike Cowart FCEP
Vice President
Thompson & Associates
Hendersonville TN
(615) 369-1416

3.  RE: donor retention rate

Posted 8 days ago

Great questions. You might find the attached report helpful. It shows overall retention at 45%. http://afpfep.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/FEP2017Report4212017.pdf

Interesting stat is 93% of donors say they would give again if they were properly thanked and communicated with.

So that is where I love to focus my efforts, is on closing the gap of those missed opportunities.


Peter Line
Director of Strategy & Innovation
Brook Recognition
Winnipeg MB
(877) 608-6987 x106

4.  RE: donor retention rate

Posted 8 days ago

I am glad that Peter provided a link to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project.  Donor retention is such a key issue that AFP worked with many industry partners to produce this research data.  You will note that page 25 has some health specific data.

In response to your other question, as a general rule, with each year a donor makes a gift, their likelihood of retention increases.  In a study published a few years back, retention rates for donors were:

New Donors--only 35% make a second gift
2 consecutive years - 62% retain
3-4 consecutive years 77% retain
5+ consecutive years 84% retain

Donors with multi year pledges are different, especially if you have a signed, mult-year pledge.  There should be much less attrition with these types of gifts.  Same for monthly donors--if you have a credit card to fulfill the gift, you just need to keep the current credit card information.

Timothy Logan FAHP, CFRE, ACFRE
Pentera, Inc.
Reston VA
(703) 758-0970