[PODCAST] Donor Retention Tips

Donor retention is an ever-increasing concern for nonprofits. We all face the threat of donor attrition. In a fast-paced world where the competition for attention and resources is steep, it can be challenging to find ways to retain our top donors. In this episode, fundraising coach and expert, Adrianna O’Donnell gives us tips to recognize risk areas and strengthen our donor relationships. Rather than ebbing and flowing our communication, Adrianna encourages us to get to know our donors’ preferences and interests. Once we know who they are and what they prefer, we can differentiate them from those doing mass communication or a one-size-fits-all strategy by finding meaningful ways to connect.

Donors are lost by calling too often and calling too seldom.

Like any relationship, you can lose favor and connection by what you do and don’t do to maintain it. Adrianna encourages fundraisers to ask the right questions upfront to learn what a donor prefers. Doing so, helps you communicate the information donors want through the methods they prefer. Do you hate talking on the phone? Your donor might love it. Is texting the norm for you? Your donor might not even know how to access their text messages. With so many avenues to connect, you must find what works best for your supporters. 

Knowing their interest points can also help you differentiate and breakthrough. The more complex your organization is, the more important this becomes. Learn what matters to your donor most and save yourself and them time by tailoring your communications to those areas. 

Donor Retention Tip: Double up on Relationships 

People come in different flavors…you might not be your donor’s favorite flavor. Adrianna encourages doubling up on donor relationships, especially in the early stages. This helps the donor to forge a deeper relationship with the organization (not an individual). And, there is safety in numbers. Whereas one person may not “click” with the donor, another might. Whenever possible, it’s ideal to involve front-line staff with stories, experience, and perspectives that you as a leader or fundraiser may not have. 

Other Content on Donor Retention:

First-Time Donor Retention: 3 Nonprofit Best Practices

How to Boost Online Donor Retention

6 Effective Donor Retention Strategies for Small Nonprofits


Meet Adrianna ODonnell

ADRIANNA O’DONNELL, MBA, CFRE (She/Her/Hers) | Director of Philanthropy | San Ysidro Health

Adrianna O’Donnell is the Director of Philanthropy at San Ysidro Health, where she is responsible for the oversight, planning, and implementation of a comprehensive fundraising program. The program she leads secures financial resources from individuals, foundations and others to support the organization’s safety net services and strategic plan. San Ysidro Health is one of San Diego County’s largest and most well-respected nonprofit community health providers, caring for over 109,000 patients at 50 program clinic sites.

Adrianna has over 20 years of experience managing successful resource development and marketing programs for local, national, and international organizations. She has her MBA in Not-For-Profit from the Chaminade University of Honolulu and a bachelor’s degree in International Business from Johnson’s Wales University in Rhode Island. Adrianna earned her Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential in 2020. She is currently

involved with multiple community organizations, including serving as Vice President of Education for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) San Diego. Adrianna is also serving on the steering committee of San Diego Gives and serving as a member of the Community Advisory Committee for the San Diego Blood Bank.


Shout out to Fundraising Academy for making this episode possible!

Adrianna Odonnel Donor Retention Tips

Katie Appold

Katie’s nonprofit career includes a variety of leadership roles for human service, foundation, and publishing-related nonprofits as well as many volunteer roles. Under Katie’s leadership, nonprofit organizations have developed new programs related to free healthcare, affordable and accessible housing and literacy programs for K-12 students. In her first Executive Director role, Katie increased the annual revenue of the organization she led by 300% and received the top grant prize in the nation for affordable housing through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis. Today, she leads Nonprofit Hub and Cause Camp, which collectively serve more than 50,000 nonprofits throughout North America. Her educational background includes an undergraduate degree in business administration and a masters degree in nonprofit leadership. Katie serves as the board president of Gracious Grounds, a housing organization serving individuals with disabilities. She is an active member of the Grand Rapids Young Nonprofit Professionals, the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, Cause Network, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

April 1, 2022

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