Donor Retention and Gratitude Playbook

Everything Your Nonprofit Needs to Keep Donors for Life!

Why you should get this Playbook

Are you losing donors as fast as you can find new ones?

Do you need help creating thank you letters that wow your donors?

Do you want to know when to call donors to thank them, and what to say?

Do you want to know the secrets to donor-centered stewardship that really works?

Do you wish you had a clear plan for making your donors feel so appreciated that they stay loyal?

Do you wish you had a written donor acknowledgement and retention plan – plus the resources to implement it?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then I invite you to join me for an easy, step-by-step, six-volume journey where you’ll learn how to make a great first impression — and then a terrific second, third and fourth impression — by thanking, praising and engaging with your donors in a manner that makes them want to stay loyal to you.

Why is a Donor Retention Program So Important?

If you’re like the average nonprofit, here is the abysmal state of your donor retention:

  • Overall: 46% (compared with 70 – 90% for commercial businesses)
  • New donors: 23%
  • Repeat donors: 60%

One of the reasons this is happening is that you’re not really paying attention to keeping donors; all your resources are going into acquiring new ones. This is extremely ineffective, as it is much more expensive to get a new donor than to renew an existing one (the same is true for customers of for profit businesses).

Research shows it takes 7 – 12% more effort, time and money to bring in a new donor than to raise more from a current donor.

You’re fooling yourself if you think the name of the game is just donor acquisition. Want to know why? The latest Fundraising Effectiveness Project report reveals that for every 100 new donors you secure you’ll lose 96 through attrition!

You simply cannot rely solely on acquisition at the expense of retention!

Donors just want to be acknowledged, informed and recognized for the gifts they make. If you can do this successfully — in a donor-centered manner — you will unleash their philanthropy at a whole new level!

Why is a Donor Retention Program So Challenging?

“I’m not sure what our retention rate is. I don’t have time to do the calculations — even if I knew how.”

“We lump all our lapsed donors together; I’m not sure how many were lost after the first gift vs. how many were lost after giving more than once.”


In order to do better, you need to begin by knowing what you’re doing now.

The bad news is that the lion’s share of executive and development directors to whom I pose the question “what is your donor retention rate?” do not know the answer.

“I have no idea how many donors we should be renewing or upgrading.”

You need to have a goal for what your donor retention should be and how you’re going to achieve that goal.

There are nonprofits who achieve a rate of 70% or higher.  There are nonprofits who take their donors to the next level by using upgrading techniques such as gift societies and monthly giving.

“My boss thinks thanking donors within 2 – 3 weeks is just fine.”

“We thank donors as fast as we can, but a lot depends upon when we get the mail and how fast the finance department processes the gifts.”

Achieving donor loyalty takes a village; everyone must be on board.

Donor service must be everyone’s responsibility, regardless of what department they work in. There is no good excuse for a tardy thank you or a perfunctory receipt. Just because someone was out sick in the finance department is no reason your donor should be made to wait to hear if their gift was received and was important to you. You need a systematic organization-wide plan for donor acknowledgement. And that’s exactly what you’ll learn in this Playbook!

“Our marketing staff won’t help us create thank you’s and reports that are graphically appealing; they say it’s not their job.”

“We don’t have a budget to do a lot of fancy stewardship; we need to focus on raising money and direct service.”

You have to spend some money to make money.

You do need to budget for donor retention, just like everything else. That being said, you don’t need to spend a lot — that’s what being creative is all about. It’s the thought that counts! In this Playbook you’ll learn how to be thoughtful — and you’ll get  a systematic process of building relationships where you and your prospective donor continue to learn more about one another over time.

What’s in this Playbook?

The Playbook is broken into six separate Companion Guides so it’s easy for you to manage and not overwhelming.

Taken together, they are a complete Donor Retention ‘Bible’ — everything you need to raise more money by keeping your current donors and increasing their average gift!

  • If you’re just getting started with building an intentional donor retention, then you’ll want to get all six. If you already have a program, but think you could do better, then you may want to pick and choose.
  • Each Companion Guide contains 20 – 130 pages and presents everything you need to know to kick start or rev up your donor retention and stewardship program.
  • You’ll find plenty of practical tips, worksheets, exercises, templates, samples and checklists to reinforce your learning and serve as handy tools this year and in the future.

You’ll learn to develop an integrated system that produces exceptional results for your nonprofit. I know this is an investment for you, and I want you to think it’s worth it!

“The amount of information and specific examples to support it were so useful. We followed the advice carefully, step by step. Appreciated the detailed resources.”

“Content and formatting was just right: Neither too little/too vague or too much. It is “actionable.” 

Why I Created these Donor Retention Companion Guides

In response to numerous requests from folks wanting hands-on, practical information to help them significantly impact their bottom line through easy-to-implement donor retention techniques.  I combed through all the research to help you make a persuasive case to your leaders as to why you should spend more time/resources on retention vs. acquisition, and also put together all the strategies that have worked like gang busters for me over my three decades of working in the trenches of nonprofits just like yours.  This stuff has been put to the test — and it really works!

I felt like you were personally cheering me on through the material. Hands on information that shows HOW to do the things that others only say is important.

 I find it very helpful, especially in teaching board members about the concept of making thank you calls. When it comes from an authority like you, it just has a different flavor. You did a great job putting it all in one place!

— José Lusende, CFRE, St. Mary’s Child Center

Thank you! I really appreciate these materials. They are great. — Matt Gullatta, Ashland University

I found numerous creative phrases in your Guide and ways to say “thank you” to donorsYou’re a wonderful resource…thanks for sharing your ideas.

– Sister Dorothy Mueller, Homes of Charity

It’s been really helpful. Have been tasked with doing two large thank you call a thons! Your guide has been invaluable and was the basis for my script. 

— Kate McGlinchey, Christian Broadcasting Association, New Zealand

It’s great! It is suited to our ‘small shop’ and feasible to implement.

Hannah Routly, Executive Director, Health Services Foundation, Toronto

Each Companion Guide can be purchased separately. Or buy theBARGAIN BUNDLE”  — for much less than what it costs for 1 hour of consultation with me — and save over 30%!

I promise you, this will become your Donor Retention ‘Bible’ you’ll refer to over and over and over in the years to come.

Here’s what you get:

Donor Retention Solution Kit

Donor-Centered Retention Solution Kit

This is your comprehensive road map to an intentional donor retention system! 65 pages, with the “9 Key Secrets to Donor-Centered Stewardship” and “Donor Retention Strategic Plan Checklist.” Plus you get FAQs, bonus articles and a Resource Guide. It’s not brain surgery; you just mustuse your brain to think through things critically. This walks you step-by-step through creation of a strategic system of timely response that will maximize the lifetime value of your supporters.  It’s way less expensive to retain a supporter than to get a new one! Use this Guide to get everyone on the same page and pumped up about developing a robust donor retention program to sustain your organization through good times and bad.

Nonprofit Donor Retention is Not as Hard as You Think 

This is a simple step-by-step handbook that supplements the “Donor-Centered Retention Solution Kit.” Take a deeper dive with a host of straightforward action tips plus a compendium of links to valuable resources to boost the lifetime value of your donors so they sustain you well into the future.

The Attitude of Gratitude Donor Guide

Attitude of Gratitude Donor Guide 

Everything I’ve learned about donor acknowledgement over the years, all tucked into one handy no-nonsense guide on the practice of gratitude. 130 full pages, with lots of ready-to-use samples and templates. Plus it includes the Creative Ways to Thank Your Donors E-Book — with 70+ ideas for you to steal! 

48 Hours: Your Donor Acknowledgment Solution Kit

This complete Solution Kit walks you step-by-step through creation of an intentional system of timely response that will maximize the lifetime value of your supporters. Includes an action plan,  easy-to-use worksheets and sample policies and procedures.

Anatomy of a Nonprofit Thank You Letter + Sample Template

This is a simple, step-by-step guide to crafting killer donor thank you letters. You’ll learn all the elements that go into making your donor feel really special. Plus get sample letters, a template and links to other examples of great thank you’s.

Thank You Calls and Script e-Book

Thank You Calls E-Book + Script

This practical book tells you everything you need to know about making dynamite donor thank you calls that increase donor loyalty. As a stand-alone piece, it’s perfect for staff, Board and volunteers. In fact, it’s a great introduction to getting on the phone and connecting directly with your supporters — a non-threatening way to introduce folks to fundraising.

You can grab a “Bargain Bundle” of all six for more than a third less than buying them separately. If you want the bundle bargain – all 6 donor retention road maps for one low price – click below.

Get The Donor Retention “Bargain Bundle”
Immediately Download Your Special Guide for Just $209.00

'Clairification School' students receive special discounts, including $90 off on this Playbook.

All Clairification products are guaranteed. In fact, if you don’t make more money than you spend on this, I’ll make a donation to your nonprofit!

NOTE: Immediately after making your purchase you will receive an email with links to download all 6 Guides. If you don’t receive this email, please let me know. I want you to be able to get started right away to keep and upgrade more of your donors!

Get The Donor Retention “Bargain Bundle”
Immediately Download Your Special Guide for Just $209.00

'Clairification School' students receive special discounts, including $90 off on this Playbook.

All Clairification products are guaranteed. In fact, if you don’t make more money than you spend on this, I’ll make a donation to your nonprofit!