How Do You Keep Your Donors After Your Benefit Auction?

“Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.”

“Make new friends but keep the old.      One is silver and the other is gold.”

Recently I enjoyed a San Diego visit with life-long friends Kathie and Karen. Even though we have lived on different coasts, our friendship has thrived since we were 5 year old kindergarten pals.

As girl scouts, we sang this beloved campfire song that rings even more true today. Now, we share what we love most: our families – we each come from a tribe of five sisters, birds, fish tacos, ocean, travel, football, dogs, and our commitment to helping animal rescue groups.

Enduring friendships are truly golden — and so are your donors.

However, a top problem for many nonprofit organizations is that they are not retaining their donors. Donor attrition may be as high as 40 to 70 percent for a typical nonprofit. If you were running a business and lost 60 percent of your customers every year, you’d be out of business. It is as critical for a nonprofit to develop a pool of donors who upgrade their gifts as it is for a business to build steady customers.
So, what are you doing to keep your donors involved?

Consider this: What happens after your doors close and guests go home? Nothing, unless you design intentional cultivation strategic actions.

Your auction fundraiser event is the NEW catalyst to engage and keep your donors. (Note, if you’d like to dive deeper, check out Chapter 1 and 15 in my book A Higher Bid.)

Create your “After Auction Strategic Donor Cultivation Plan.” Here are the key elements: show your sincere gratitude, inspire effective communication with your donors year round, personally reach out to invite guests to be further involved, and empower and train your board, staff and volunteers on donor engagement and retention.

The Donor Focused Model of Fundraising Auctions™ 


Just as you and your auction committee members plan myriad details before your fundraising event, designing a detailed follow up plan after your event is even more crucial. This takes strategies, commitment and outreach year round. The ultimate goal is to inspire your donors to stay with you, now and into the future. There are numerous opportunities along the way for them to connect more deeply with your mission.

Here are some meaningful ways that donors can become more engaged: become a volunteer, join your auction leadership team, attend other events and cause-related activities, serve on your board of directors, become a sponsor, participate financially in the annual appeal, invest as a major donor, donate to a capital campaign, give a legacy gift, make a charitable bequest, and most of all, offer their unique gift of influence to introduce others to your great cause.

Attracting and retaining fundraising donors is a key priority. Go that extra mile to personally connect with your auction guests, sponsors, donors, and volunteers. It really means the world to them to be part of your nonprofit’s future success!
In the coming months, I’ll be sharing key strategies and tips to help you turn your auction bidders into loyal donors.

Will you share your #1 tip to cultivate your guests after your benefit auction. Please email me with your best idea. I’ll include it in my upcoming special report and send you a copy. Drop me a note at or call 603-926-1919.

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