Use Your Donation Software to Retain Donors: Top 5 Tips

Donor retention is a pervasive issue in the world of nonprofit fundraising. Just last year, the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s yearly study revealed a 45% overall donor retention rate. This means that while 45% of donors give again in the following year, there is also another 55% that doesn’t!

In this post, we’ll examine a tool you’re probably already working with — your donation software — and how you can use it to retain donors. Whether addressing accessibility concerns or refining your payment processing, there are many considerations when it comes to optimizing your online giving page to boost donor experience.

We’ll explore optimizing your giving form to better retain donors with the following key strategies:

  1. Make your page easily discoverable and shareable.
  2. Accept a variety of giving methods.
  3. Use donor data to your advantage.
  4. Inform donors about matching gift opportunities.
  5. Remember, content is king.

Follow along as we explore 5 donation page best practices that will help your donor retention numbers.

Make your page easily discoverable and shareable

One of the biggest draws of an online donation page is the ease with which donors are now able to give. At any time, from any place, they’re now able to give to your cause with the click of a button. However, this convenience is moot if it’s difficult to find your page, to begin with.

From prominently displaying a link to your online giving form directly on your website’s homepage to prioritizing the mobile-friendliness of your website and giving page, you want to make your digital giving processes as easy to locate (and navigate!) as possible.

Next, look at the shareability of your page. Shareability can be a gamechanger for your fundraising, both in allowing donors to show off their contribution, and in introducing you to new donors you may not have reached otherwise.

Ultimately, you want donors to associate positive feelings with giving to your cause, so they’ll return to do so again. An easily discoverable and shareable page contributes to this.

Accept a variety of giving methods

Further enforce this idea that giving to your organization provides a positive experience by accepting a wide variety of payment types through your online giving tool.

Just as donors should be able to give through your online form via any device, they should also be able to do so using whichever type of digital giving process they prefer. This includes credit/debit cards, direct deposit/ACH payments, and even a secure payment processor such as PayPal.

Be mindful of giving types when choosing your donation software, as this isn’t something you’ll likely have the power to change if your donation software doesn’t offer a particular payment processing method.

The logistics behind these processes can be confusing, so reference this article on nonprofit payment processing if you need more clarification.

Use donor data to your advantage

Your donor data provides valuable insights on how much donors are giving and why. Choose an online donation tool that offers integrations with your CRM and see what insights that partnership offers.

There are two ways you can use this data to retain donors:

  1. Send quarterly or bi-annual reports to donors, showing a breakdown of the donations you received and what they benefitted. Seeing their impact on paper can be very motivating for donors!
  2. Create customized suggested gift amount buttons on your giving form reflecting popular donation amounts, so donors can give with the click of a button.

Not only can your digital donation tools collect gifts, but they can also provide valuable information that you can use in your quest to retain donors.

Bonus! Include a lead capture form on your thank-you page to gather further information from donors regarding how they found you cause and what motivated them to give.

Inform donors about matching gift opportunities

One look at these matching gift statistics provided by Double the Donation shows that matching gift programs are a serious force for social good. For example, 84% of donors said they’re more likely to donate if a matching gift program is in place, and 1 in 3 said they’re likely to donate more if their gift is being matched as well!

Matching gift programs allow your nonprofit to collect twice the donation without having to solicit any more from the donor. This occurs when an employer pledges to match the gifts made by their employees to specific nonprofit organizations, so your organization receives two donations for the price of one.

Inform donors of the matching gift process and the potential impact their donation can have. Donors are more likely to return (and give more initially) if they’re aware of the positive effect they can have on your organization, and matching gifts are the perfect way to illustrate that.

Remember, content is king

One thing that’s never going to change is that content is king when encouraging donors to give to your cause. The easiest way to retain donors is by demonstrating the impact of their donations on your organization’s work.

Throughout your website, and especially on your online donation page, display compelling stories of both the people doing the work for your cause and those benefiting from it.

If you check out these successful online fundraising campaigns highlighted by Donately, you’ll notice they all have two things in common: they’re using their online fundraising page to its fullest, and they’re providing gripping stories to encourage donors to give.

Donors will be more motivated to return to your organization if they feel they’re actually making a difference. The easiest way to convince them of this is to clearly display this impact on your giving page and website.


Donor retention is a problem in the nonprofit world, with a low percentage of donors returning to causes they gave to in the previous year.

Retaining a donor is significantly more efficient than attracting a new one, so you want to maintain as many donor relationships as possible. Luckily, you can use a tool you’re probably already utilizing to do so—your donation software!

With the above tips, you’ll optimize your donation software in a way that’s attractive to repeat donors.

Andrew Berry
Head of Growth
Donately
Andrew is the head of marketing and customer success for Donately. After getting involved with nonprofits at a young age, he discovered a passion for helping the organizations that are making the world a better place. Knowing how vital online fundraising has become, his goal is to help nonprofits raise more money online each year! In his spare time, you will find him cooking up dinner, playing with his dog or cheering on Boston sports teams.