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Donor Retention Resources

Resources on Donor Attrition and Donor Retention

There are many excellent articles, books and audiotapes related to donor retention and donor attrition.  The FEP Education Task Force is in the process of compiling a list of resources that will help you retain your donors.  A few resources are listed below.  In addition, the white paper by Robert F. Hartsook Professor of Fundraising Adrian Sargeant from Indiana University in the Attachments below provides an overview of research on donor retention and practical suggestions for fundraisers on how to keep donors loyal.


Tom Ahem and Simone Joyaux, Keep Your Donor : The Guide to Better Communications & Stronger Relationships, AFP Fund Development Series, John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

Joshua M. Birholz, Fundraising Analytics, John Wiley & Sons, 2008

Penelope Burke, Donor Center Fundraising, Burk & Associates, Ltd./Cygnus Applied Research, 2003.

Ken Burnett, Relationship Fundraising: A Donor-Based Approach to the Business of Raising Money, 2nd Edition, Jossey-Bass, 2002.

Adrian Sargeant, Elaine Jay, Building Donor Loyalty: The Fundraiser's Guide to Increasing Lifetime Value, Jossey-Bass, 2004.


Sargeant A (1999) ‘Why Do Donors Stop Giving?, Professional Fundraising, September, pp12-14.

Sargeant A (2000) ‘Donor Overboard’, Philanthropy Matters, 10(1), pp6-7.

Sargeant A (2001) ‘Donor Motivations’, Giving USA 2001, AAFRC Trust for Philanthropy, pp54-7.

Sargeant A and Jay E (2002) ‘Steward Little’ Professional Fundraising, October, pp16-19.

Sargeant A (2005) ‘New Research Could Change How Committed Giving Is Viewed Forever’, Professional Fundraising, Feb, p14-15.

Sargeant A and Farthing P (2005) ‘Donor Commitment: What Is It? What Drives It and Why Does It Matter?’ Charity Times, March,  pp20-24.

Sargeant A (2005) ‘Now We Know Commitment Does Drive Loyalty’, Professional Fundraising, October, p16.

Sargeant A (2001) ‘Using Donor Lifetime Value to Inform Fundraising Strategy’, Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 12(1), pp25-38.

Sargeant A (2001) ‘Relationship Fundraising: How To Keep Donors Loyal’, Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 12(2), pp177-192.

Sargeant A (2002) ‘Managing Donor Defection: Why Should Donors Stop Giving?’, New Directions For Philanthropic Fundraising, 32 (Summer), pp59-74.

Sargeant A and Jay E (2004) ‘Reasons For Lapse: The Case of Face-To-Face Donors’ International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 9(2), pp171-182.

Sargeant A and Woodliffe L (2005) ‘The Antecedents of Donor Commitment to Voluntary Organizations’ Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 16(1) pp61-78.

Sargeant A, Jay E and Lee S (2006) ‘Benchmarking Charity Performance: Returns From Direct Marketing In Fundraising,’ International Journal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing, 16 (1/2), pp77-94.

Sargeant A and Woodliffe L (2007) ‘Building Donor Loyalty: The Antecedents and Role of Commitment in the Context of Charity Giving,’ International Journal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing, 18(2), 47-68.

AFP International Conference Audiotapes (available from ACTS, 800/642-2287)

2008 AFP International Conference

AG4: It Works! When We Work Together, James Brozo

MKT5: Harnessing the Power of Relationships through Email Marketing, Eric Groves

DN6: Cultivation Matrix: It’s No Mystery, Paula Parrish

DN7: Weaving Donor Relations into the Fabric of Your Organization, Janet Hedrick

2007 AFP International Conference

DN2/6: Donor Centered Fundraising, Penelope Burk

DN3/5: To Get the Big Gift, Think Like a Donor, Wayne Olson

LM4/6: How Nonprofits Can Improve on Performance. Wesley Lindahl

DN8: Donor Focused Stewardship Strategies, Roberta Healey

DN10: Building Donor Loyalty, Adrian Sargeant

MKT3: The Three Rs of Fundraising Success: Relationships, Research and Recordkeeping, Jay Love

AFP Web/Audioconference Tapes

June 9, 2004, The Essence of Relationship Fundraising, Ken Burnett

July 15, 2004, Loyal for Life: Inspiring Dedicated Donors, Todd Baker

March 10, 2005, Sky High! Major Gift Strategies to Engage & Excite Your Donors & Prospects, Nick G. Costa

June 7, 2005, Beyond the Essentials of Acknowledgement and Recognition, Janet Hedrick

May 9, 2006, Achieving Donor Loyalty, Adrian Sargeant

July 9, 2008, Keep Your Donors Part 1: Building Donor-Centered Relationships, Simone P. Joyaux

September 18, 2008, Keep Your Donors: The Secrets of Successful Communications, Tom Ahern

Links to Helpful Websites, Ahern Communications Ink, Simone Joyaux Associates

This list is a work in progress.  If you have found good resources on donor retention we encourage you to share them with others by sending them to Cathlene Williams at the AFP offices at


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