Canvass Donor Retention Rises 8% by Measuring, Managing Integrity

February 17, 2019 — Philip Radford

Canvass Donor Retention, Canvass Donor Retention Rises 8% by Measuring, Managing Integrity

A global nonprofit partner of Membership Drive witnessed their canvass donor retention rate drop by eight percentage points from 83% to 75% in the second month of giving, so they called Membership Drive for support. After a quick consultation, the nonprofit started using the Membership Drive canvassing software’s Canvasser Integrity Check tool to reduce the donor attrition rate. The result: retention rates in Month 2 spiked back to 83%.

One of our major non-profit partner’s recently witnessed their monthly donor attrition rate spike by eight percentage points from 75% to 83% in the second month of giving. This was due to using the Membership Drive canvassing software’s Canvasser Integrity Check tool to reduce the donor attrition rate.

Canvass Donor Retention Rate Drivers

Retention and attrition rates are driven by several factors. The most noteworthy factors that drove this dramatic increase in donor attrition were:

• Donor Age – Donors under 25 tend to not contribute long enough for you to recoup the cost of recruiting them. Many organizations have a minimum membership age of 25 years of age to sign up as a monthly donor. While these policies make a difference, non-profits and vendors don’t have the tools that make enforcement easy. Membership Drive developed a toolset to block under-age donors, double verify their age, and flag staff who may be changing someone’s age to make their quota.

• Donor Commitment – Membership Drive data shows that the least committed donors are almost always other canvassers, family members, friends, and canvassers themselves who sign up and then cancel their membership when the canvasser leaves the team. Policies against this counting towards quota are crucial to reducing attrition rates. Developing tools to enforce these policies — like Membership Drive’s Integrity Check — is crucial for long-term donor retention.

The Impact of Cutting the Donor Attrition Rate

Monthly donors that advocacy groups recruit in the U.S. tend to drop off at 2-3% per month after twelve months. Lost or stolen cards, member cancellation, insufficient funds, as well as banks reissuing account numbers cause this drop. The greatest drops in canvass donor retention occurs in the first three months of a member’s relationship with the charity. Canvasser behavior and integrity makes an enormous impact on donor attrition in these first three months.

We conservatively estimate that this eight point improvement in the donor attrition rate will make our partner an additional $30-50 per donor over the five year lifetime of the $20 monthly donor. This can be attributed to double checking that all donors were over 25 and enforcing policies against the low-commitment donors listed above. This $30-50 estimate conservatively assumes that the attrition rate in months three and onwards remain the same.

Learn more here about launching a high retention fundraising canvass program.

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