Do you know your donor retention rate?

by Ryan Garnett on February 1st, 2016

Last week I was looking back at our most viewed blogs from 2015. I was surprised to see that the highest views, by far, were to a blog post that was originally posted in 2012. It was titled Do you know your donor attrition rate?

Attrition (and retention) continue to be an important topic in fundraising today so we wanted to post a quick tool to help you calculate your retention rate. 

Your retention rate is the percentage of donors who renew their support each year with a gift, usually within 12 months following their last gift. 

Why it’s important

High renewal rates indicate that you are doing a good job of engaging and stewarding your donors, and that you are likely not over-soliciting or under-soliciting them.

How to calculate

A. Count how many donors gave a gift in Year 1 (A).

B. Count how many of these same donors gave a gift in the following year, Year 2 (B).

C. Divide B by A to get C, and express as a percentage. 


Number of donors who
gave a gift in Year 1
Number of donors from Year 1
who gave again in Year 2
Divide B by A
5,000 4,000 80
Donor Retention Rate 80%

 Remember: Getting second and subsequent gifts from existing donors is up to eight times cheaper than getting first-time gifts from non-donors

If you’re interested in learning about how HMA can help you improve your retention rate please get in contact with us at

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