3 Ways to Increase “Donor Satisfaction”

What does it take to move a donor from giving once to becoming a recurring donor According to an article in the Nonprofit Quarterly, a key driver is donor satisfaction. What does that even mean?

The article goes on to explain that donor satisfaction has at least two components. There are many others of course, but for now, I wanted to highlight two of them:

  1. Donors are satisfied with the quality of service provided. In the context of nonprofit activity, this often boils down to impact. What are the long-term effects of the services provided by the nonprofit? Note that this is more than just looking at what the nonprofit does, but rather it is looking at the “so what?” question: How does the nonprofit truly make a lasting impact in the lives of their clients? 
  2. Donors are satisfied with the quality of “relationship marketing activity.” In other words, how regular is your communication with your donors? What are you doing to build the relationships with them and make them feel valued?

How can you increase donor satisfaction?

  1. First, focus on measuring long-term outcomes (often called “impact” in the nonprofit sector), rather than just metrics that indicate your outputs (i.e. the activities you do).
  2. Make sure this long-term impact is communicated clearly and regularly with your donors.
  3. Make sure you have a consistent Communications Plan/Strategy. Regular, monthly touchpoints work well, and they don’t need to be lengthy. Short emails (500 words or less) that show impact are ideal!

Do you need help measuring or communicating impact to your donors? Give me a call or email today.


Sargeant, A. (2013). Donor retention: What do we know & what can we co about It? Nonprofit Quarterly. (link)

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