What’s the secret to creating and retaining more generous donors? The answer may not be easy, but it’s definitely simple: Make them happy.

That’s the word from Mark Rovner, founder and principal at Sea Change Strategies, speaking at the 2016 Best Friends National Conference. The reason it’s not easy, he said, is because statistics for donor retention keep declining year after year, and 53 percent leave because they weren’t stewarded well. “This means 53 percent are in your control. We spend so much time bringing in donors, only to let them dribble out,” said Rovner.

To understand how to retain donors, it helps to understand why they leave. So what exactly are some of those reasons that are in your control? Rovner shares some of the top reasons from donor surveys:

  • “They don’t need me.”
  • “I don’t know where the money goes.”
  • “I don’t remember giving in the first place.”
  • “I never got thanked.”
  • “They had poor communication or service.”

How can you address the lack of stewardship and make donors happy? Rovner offers five steps:

  1. Set your intention
  2. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude – and learn the key ingredients to a good thank you!
  3. Practice the art of listening
  4. Use appropriate technology to do so
  5. Don’t be a stranger

In his presentation, Successful Stewardship: Building Lasting Donor Relationships, Rovner dives deeper into how to make donors happy, offering simple and tactical suggestions and tips for each step – and even throws in a bonus tip! Watch the full presentation, and be on your way to making your donors happy!