Institute for Charitable Giving

blue rule

Attrition Is Your Enemy

blue rule

What is a typical attrition rate among smaller and first-time donors?  It can be as much as twenty to forty percent who lapse every year.  For many organizations, it is often on the higher side for first-time donors.

There is, however, good news.  You can do something about reducing the rate of attrition.

But to begin with, your job is to renew the remaining sixty to eighty percent.  Here’s how to look at it.

Let’s say you have 1,000 donors (that makes the arithmetic easy !).  If you have a low of twenty percent attrition (and that’s really quite good), 200 of those donors will be lost.  To make up for the loss, you’ll need to acquire 200 new donors just to stay even.

(It takes 4 ½ times the resources, staff, and effort to get a new donor as it takes to get a renewal.  Work hard on those renewals.  It starts with an effective, specific, time-phased program of stewardship.)

Let’s get back to the arithmetic.  What happens to those thousand donors on your roster if your attrition rate is forty percent?  It will mean that the 1,000 donors on your roll will be reduced to 77 donors in five years.  That should cause some palpitations in the tummy.

Next in importance to getting the gift (note this well) . . . is stewardship.  If you’re not really working at this, you deserve the results you’ll be getting!


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