Backing the Importance of a Donor Loyalty Program

Date Published
Hannah Smith

It’s an age-old truth, it costs more to acquire a new donor than it does to retain one. So, what is your organization doing to foster relationships with your members? How do you encourage your members to renew each year, or if you’re lucky, convince them to become sustainers who contribute dependably each month?

Donor stewardship starts with thanking the donor and continues with acknowledgement letters, thank you gifts, and maybe even a special event or two. A loyalty program is the next step to fostering a deeper relationship with donors who will become lifelong supporters.

When you think of the term “loyalty program”, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s your local coffee shop’s punch card, or your airline points program- there are so many ways we are rewarded for shopping these days. Just like brand loyalty, people have a propensity to back the organizations they feel strongly about year after year. Why not reward donors for being valuable contributors to your organization?

Loyalty programs can help to:

  • Reward supporters with a special, ongoing benefit
  • Keep them engaged with your organization
  • Renew donors by making participation annual
  • Keep your organization top of mind for additional gifts (referring a friend or family member, year-end gifts, bequests, special giving holidays)

As you gear up for your year-end campaigns this year, it’s the perfect time to consider how a loyalty program can foster relationships with your members and keep them engaged for years to come. Work on treating a gift as a step in a relationship, not a business transaction; stay in regular touch with donors, reminding them that they make a difference; and remember, the key to donor loyalty is being loyal to your donors.

About the Author:
Hannah Smith
Group Director, Client Services, Loyalty & Incentives

As the primary contact for our 100+ clients in the Loyalty and Incentives division, Hannah is essentially “the face” of MemberCard and the go-to for questions, comments and ideas. In an account management role like hers, it’s important to not only have a good handle on industry trends and concepts, but it is equally important to get to know all clients on a personal level.

What excites you about your work at AFG?

It’s a great opportunity to meet all sorts of people, as our clients are across the country! I love the interaction and getting to know each of them.

If you weren’t at AFG, what would you be doing?

I wanted to be a mermaid growing up, so maybe working at Atlantis Resort.

What are your hobbies/interests outside of AFG?

I enjoy cooking, reading, watching reality tv, exploring my new city of Providence, and am working on marathon number three!

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