Donor Attrition Rate Improves Eight Percentage Points


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.

Donor Attrition 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 Donor Voice has done great work on the connection between commitment and donor attrition. 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. Non-profits possessing tools to enforce these policies — like Membership Drive’s integrity check — is especially relevant.

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 loss of members 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.

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