You aren't communicating with your donors often enough.
Okay, you may or may not be communicating enough. But if I'm to believe survey response from Kivi's Nonprofit Communications Blog, a lot of organizations are so sparsely communicating, they're hardly visible to their own donors.
This information is from the Nonprofit Communications Trends Survey for 2014. Read Kivi's early report on the findings so far at How Often Should Nonprofits Send Email and Direct Mail? I urge you to take the survey. Maybe we'll discover the preliminary findings are fluky and won't hold true. I hope. But I'm not optimistic.
Here's what respondents have said so far about their frequency of donor communications:
- Email Appeals: quarterly.
- Email Newsletters: monthly.
- Direct Mail Appeals: twice a year (narrowly edging out quarterly).
- Direct Mail Newsletters: never.
If your frequency is like that, you are not in front of your donors often enough to be part of their lives. You are trying to scoop water into your bucket with a sieve. Your donors are hearing from a lot of other organizations, and frequency like that means you are barely there. Your revenue is a fraction of what it could be. Your donor retention is nowhere close to what it should be.
If your communication is this low because you believe or someone told you that if you increase you'll "burn out" your donors, you need to get re-oriented to reality. That simply isn't true (except in cases where your fundraising is so bad and irrelevant it actively turns people away). Repudiate that myth and increase your frequency!
If it's this low because of capacity (budget or time), add a little bit to what you're doing now. It will fund itself and help you move toward higher capacity.
Either way, if your communication frequency is like Kivi's early findings, you have nowhere to go but better.