We’ve re-branded from Legacy Leaders to Donor Compass. Learn more.

Skip to main content

It’s Not You, It’s Me: 5 Signs Your Donor Just Isn’t Into You

Trying to re-engage a disengage donor

It happens to the best of us. 

A perfect first impression, with all signs indicating that they’re totally into you. Responding to your weekly outreach newsletter, sending a donation during your holiday campaign, and engaging with your content on social media. 

Then, the unfortunate happens. After six months, their open rates are decreasing, you haven’t been able to reach them on a one-to-one phone call, and they aren’t on the guest list to attend your upcoming virtual event. 

It feels like it all happened in the blink of an eye — but…did it really

A disengaged donor is a risk to any organization; however, how you proactively identify and mitigate risks can make a significant impact on your overall donor base. In this article, we’ll walk you through five signs that your donors might not be into you, and how you can turn these risks into opportunities. 


It’s Not You, It’s Me: 5 Signs Your Disengaged Donor Just Isn’t Into You


1. Their open rates are decreasing — or even worse, they have unsubscribed from your email newsletter 

According to Mailchimp, the average open rate of a nonprofit organization is 25.17%. This is among some of the higher average open rates when compared to other industries, as donors are generally engaged and excited to receive new updates from the organizations they support. 

If your open rates are decreasing, it is time to perform an audit of how you are engaging your donors, but it might also indicate that your content isn’t landing with some of your donors and causing them to lose interest.


2. Your reach on social media isn’t growing 

Unlike a newsletter, where open rates can hold steady within industry standards, your overall reach on social media should continuously increase. With new channels emerging, your content should always aim to be fresh, while attracting new users with revitalized content strategies. Consider how adding new channels to your strategy, such as TikTok, can reach new donors. A disengaged donor may just need a new channel to engage with you on. Remember, always meet them where they are. 


3. They didn’t participate in your annual holiday campaigns

February is a great time to reflect on your annual end-of-year holiday campaign. Your data has now been collected, from email and phone outreach, to the results of the holiday season’s gift giving. Now is the time to identify who participated in previous years, but not this past.

While there could be many reasons for a decrease in gift giving, it will be important to understand ‘why’. Has your organization not engaged them in a meaningful way throughout the last year? Perhaps they are not feeling the impact of your storytelling and mission as they once did. Whatever the case might be, consider reading this article on how to re-engage lapsed donors. 


4. They RSVP to events, but don’t show up. 

This is a warning sign – think flashing amber lights for donors. If your donors are RSVPing for your events, be it virtual or in-person, but are not attending, it is a significant red flag that your donor is losing interest in your organization. Consider this a sign that your donor may start ignoring requests to participate altogether, very soon. 


5. Their average lifetime value has decreased over the last 12 months 

Lifetime value is the monetary amount that you can expect from the average donor. 12 months is a dependable time period to measure and identify emerging trends. Of course, good data hygiene is of utmost importance, so it is essential to continue updating information for your donor list. 


A disengaged donor is not a lost donor

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is this: the relationship with your donor is just like any relationship. It has ups, downs, and learning opportunities along the way. Within a donor engagement strategy, there are red and yellow flags that you can identify to support both your organization and your donors in the process. 

From digital touchpoints, like email and social media, to in-person and physical donation trends, be sure to set a recurring, frequent cadence to monitor for these five signs that your disengaged donor may just not be that into you.