donor retention membership drive canvass technology

When it comes to your donor retention rate there is no one “magic bullet,” but there are known levers you can pull to in order to have a lasting impact on monthly member retention rates.

In 2020, Membership Drive was hired by the Grassroots Team to create a new, innovative approach to face-to-face fundraising – Smart Door – with an aim of delivering a program with superior donor retention rates. Smart Door works by targeting the existing, lapsed, and “look alike” donors, layering in some cold doors as well. By utilizing existing donor data, Smart Door is able to reactivate lapsed donors and upgrades existing donors efficiently and has a comparable donor rate for recruitment as other canvass methods.

A Technology Driven Door to Door Canvass Model Optimized for Monthly Donor Retention

The Smart Door approach is beneficial in a number of ways. First, we all know how hard it is to recruit new donors. Upgrading or winning back past donors in a way that retains them for the long-haul is crucial.

We all know that donors tend to respond via channels similar to how they first joined our organizations. Canvass donors give the most when approached again in person. Second best is over the phone. Direct mail is a distant third. This is because the phone interactions is closer to a face-to-face interaction. While email and telemarketing are useful ways to renew and upgrade canvass donors, neither rival an additional face-to-face interaction. A Smart Door approach — supercharged with mapping tools and predictive analytics to find “look alike” donors — functions as a “re-engagement team” while bringing in new donors.

90% Donor Retention in Month 4

What about the data? Grassroots Team is retaining nearly 90% of all donors in the fourth month of the donor’s membership, about 80% in Mont 12. Each donor they recruit is worth more than double the value of donors recruited via street canvassing. Sources at a large US based global nonprofit tell us that in a similar program, the lifetime value of their Smart Door donors doubles that of the industry average for street donors.

A portion of Grassroots Team’s success thus far has been through their partnership with Membership Drive. Membership Drive delivers the only true end-to-end digital canvass solution, featuring canvasser integrity check technology, which improve donor retention by preventing high-attrition behaviors. One Membership Drive partner, running a street program, implemented this tool and increased its member retention with eight percent more donors contributing in their second month of membership.

Payment Method, Gateway Selection, and Donor Retention

Payment method is another key driver of donor retention. Data demonstrates that EFT or on an American Express donors give twice as long as regular credit card donors. This is because checking account number rarely change and American Express has superior security protocols in place. Furthermore, debit cards tend to have the highest attrition rates, possibly due to constant card changes due to identity theft. Membership Drive’s donation form pushes donors to give with EFT and American Express donations.

In addition, the charities that Grassroots Team works with has made the right decisions about which payment gateway to use.

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