Donor Retention. Why it matters and what you need to do.

The importance of donor retention is not new. Every site, conference and article in the non-profit sector touts the importance of nurturing the donors that you have. So do we. So what now? Let’s go a little deeper – and really understand why it matters and more importantly, what you can do about it.

Let’s take this topic from the theoretical to a plan with purpose.

1 – Be Data Driven

Strategy –

Don’t treat everyone the same. Know who to talk to, and what to talk to them about. Make it as personalized as you can.

Where to Start?

Look at your data and find the segments and behaviours you can activate. Remember, the goal of segments is to tailor products, services and communications. The other main goal is to prioritize. Focusing on all segments simultaneously is almost as dangerous as treating them all the same.

How Can we Help?

No data? We can help map your data plan. 

Data with no segments – great, let’s dig into analysis. 

Segments with no soul – let’s flesh them out so you can action them.

2 – Focus on Donor Experience

Strategy –

Give them a good experience at all touchpoints. Start with a customer journey map and go from there.

Where to Start?

The trick is to understand all touchpoints. Most organizations stop at the transactional moment and don’t recognize the importance of the pre and post events. 

The other trick is to know which touchpoints are most important and have an honest view of how you are delivering. Cliche as it may seem, you are only as strong as your weakest link, and the links run longer than you think.

How Can we Help?

We can help you map the journey. 

We have fresh eyes and see the moments you may not realize even exist, and can help you measure the importance and performance of each.

3 – Celebrate & Thank the Donor

Strategy –

Our brains are naturally wired for story. You can’t buy attention – you have to earn it through engaging storytelling.

Where to Start?

Just as the right ingredients don’t guarantee a great outcome without a recipe, elements of your organization don’t amount to a great story without the right framework. 

One essential part of your story is your hero…this is often a source of debate, tension and confusion within impact organizations. Our natural instinct is to celebrate the impact and the mission. While this is essential, it is even more important to recognize your donors as the hero in your storyline that make the impact possible.


How Can we Help?

We are storytellers. We help take your ingredients and turn them into stores that engage your audiences.


4 – Have a Goal

Strategy –

Know what you are asking for, and build the right strategy to do it. Do you want monthly giving? Major gifts?

Where to Start?

Know what you need, and what you don’t. What does the organization need most? What is a must vs. nice to have? When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.


How Can we Help?

Know what you need, and what you don’t. What does the organization need most? What is a must vs. nice to have? When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.

5 – Be Better than the Competition

Strategy –

There are many impact organizations targeting the same people.

Donors don’t stop giving, they just give somewhere else. Make sure your experience is better than the competition so people stay.

Where to Start?

People who give, tend to keep giving. When a donor stops giving to one charity, odds are they have started giving somewhere else instead?

Why? It usually comes down to two things. One, someone else made the giving experience more fulfilling. Two, someone made it easier. 

Going back to the touchpoints – is each step good, great, better than other options?


How Can we Help?

Competitive analysis that is thorough, unbiased and served honestly.

It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we see donations as one-time transactions and treat them as such, so they will be. If we treat every donation as a touch-point in a donor journey, you will set the path for long term engagement. 

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, we need to move from the theoretical and conceptual and strategies and tactics in place. With the right systems in place to measure, track and guide communications this can be an easy and extremely rewarding investment for any organization. Call us. We can help get you there. 


Michelle Bell

Directeur général du marketing

Michelle a plus de 18 ans d’expérience dans le domaine du marketing et des opérations. Elle a travaillé en gestion traditionnelle de la marque pour des entreprises mondiales de produits de consommation courante. En outre, elle a œuvré en marketing et en stratégie commerciale pour le secteur public, notamment pour Monnaie royale canadienne à l’occasion de son Canada 150.

Plus de réflexions


Mode de vie
Les plus grandes bénédictions de la vie se présentent parfois dans les plus horribles emballages…

Project Manager / Account Strategist

What we are looking for

We are looking for a purpose-driven creative mind that thrives in helping clients bring their projects and aspirations to life. You will work with our clients to help them develop their strategic direction and build the marketing plan to bring it to life. You will have the pleasure (for the most part 😁) of working closely with our internal team and partners consisting of traditional and digital marketing, creative and graphic design, web developers, as well as other areas of the agency. 

You will work very closely with our team to manage, schedule, organize, and help create and implement client strategy. You will be working with several accounts and need to be able to manage your time effectively and work well on tight deadlines. 

Company Overview

karmadharma is a creative agency that helps enterprising organizations who want to do better in the world, do better. (We also put this into action and try very hard to do better every day!) Because when do-gooders do good, the results for all will be extraordinary. Our Ottawa-based creative agency is looking for a like minded human to join us in this Marketing Coordinator role.

We are growing and are looking for passionate and qualified people to join our team of extraordinary and eclectic people.

We need you to

  • Be an awesome team member
  • Make a difference in the world (No pressure. 😁)
  • Become a trusted advisor to our clients
  • Understand client needs and find creative solutions to help them achieve their goals. 
  • Understand your client sector and its challenges in order to seize opportunity of growth and make the appropriate recommendations. 
  • Develop, implement and execute strategic marketing plans
  • Coordinate initiatives with internal team and partners, 
  • Ensure projects are within scope of work, budget and in line with their branding.
  • Manage your time judiciously 

We need your

  • Strong emotional intelligence and a growth mindset (If you know everything, we are not the right place for you.)
  • Ability to not take yourself too seriously
  • Ability to think creatively and innovatively, and anticipate client’s needs
  • Great understanding of traditional and emerging marketing channels
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, deadline-sensitive environment, managing multiple tasks with varying priorities. 
  • Familiarity with the latest trends, technologies and methodologies in creative strategy, marketing, etc.
  • Great writing and communication skills in both French and English

Your know-how

  • A strong desire to make a positive impact in the world
  • A good head on your shoulders
  • Kindness, empathy and compassion
  • A minimum of 7 years experience in marketing strategy or any related field 
  • And if you are on a journey to become a better version of yourself, you probably fit the team! 

We offer

  • Permanent, full-time position
  • Flexible schedule;
  • Possibility of remote work;
  • Office located in the Westboro district, close to all services
  • Competitive salary according to experience and qualifications;
  • Benefits.
  • Professional training.
  • Unlimited time-off
  • Office close between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Please submit a resume that showcases the required responsibilities and skill sets above. 

Only those whose skills and qualifications closely match the requirements of this position will be contacted.

We can’t wait to meet you!

Michelle Bell

Chief Marketing Officer

Michelle is an intensely caring, and lovably nerdy, triple-threat: her creative, strategic & engineer brain are the perfect recipe for taking your organization to the next level.


Brian Mikula

Account Strategist

The entrepreneur, he will ‘tea’ you up for success (that would be more funny if you knew he founded a tea company). But seriously, this guy has a mind for marketing.

Assia Merazi

Creative Director

Mrs. Creative Worldwide hailing straight from Dubai, Assia is eager to unleash her strategic design genius on your brand. Yalla!

Jenna Araujo

Creative Lead

Jenna is the Swiss Army knife of creative…with a smile. She’s got a design solution for almost any problem accompanied by the most infectious giggle in the industry.


Account Coordinator

Gen will bring the energy to kick-start your project and the grit to see it through. Her conscience will find you the best strategy and probably save the planet along the way.


Creative Designer

Having done it all as a marketing freelancer, Jennifer applies a very thoughtful & practical mindset to her designs. She is the perfect combination of creative and cool in art and in life.

Karen Bramhill

Account Strategist

Artist, epidemiologist, operations specialist and true lover of life; Karen is a true polymath that brings a wealth of care and knowledge to every engagement. And for the record, ambiguity and her are not the best of friends.

Bárbara d’Oro

Content Strategist

Barbara is a journalist by trade who loves talking to people, asking great questions and giving a voice to their stories. Being Brazilian, she also loves a mean BBQ marathon at your local churrascaria.

A fresh coat of paint.

We are proud to have helped Nelligan Law refresh their look and feel. A refreshing take for a law firm, Nelligan decided to show off the more human side of their firm and their commitment to the community in their new identity. Watch the new promotional videos and see who the real hero of the story is.

Corporate Assets.

As part of a Brand Makeover for Nelligan, we created essential corporate elements, such as a website re-design, business cards, stationary, practice group guides and other marketing materials. Here is a just a taste of some of our work: 

The Campaign.

We hope you never have to call us…

Sometimes life can get messy. No one plans for this, but when it happens, you want the best on your side. These ads focus on those times. “We hope you never need us, but if you do..”

 Instead of putting our expertise and experience and the heart of the story, we chose to demonstrate our empathy and understanding for the difficulties facing our clients.Our clients are truly the heroes of our story.

Peter Georgariou

CEO & Founder

A Buddha-loving, health nut who races in Ironmans and runs marathons in his free time. He brings a bit of heart to each of his clients. Just wait and see how accurate that statement really is. 

Francesca Désulmé

Account Coordinator

Artist, communications enthusiast and social justice advocate, Francesca brings a plurality of lived experiences to the table. Organized, passionate and creative, she’ll help bring your projects to the next level.

Alan Horic

Senior Digital Ads Strategist

Alan is all-knowing (no joke) when it comes to deploying your digital marketing strategy; from search to display to Account-Based Marketing, he can turn your ads into a revenue generating machine.

Brent Martel

Web Development & Marketing Automation

Brent is our resident experts on making websites that convert and simplifying your marketing technology to make it work for you. Sounds good, right?

Rob Hyams

Chief Creative Officer

Rob has been building brands and campaigns since he came out of the womb…or at least that’s what it feels like. He has a rare gift; an ability to distill the complex into a succinct and compelling story.

We are all Care Givers.

The Montfort Hospital Foundation has been promoting the well-being of Eastern Ontario since 1986. It solicits, receives and administers funds that enable the Montfort Hospital to pursue its mission and achieve its objectives.

Recently the Foundation has launched a Regional Health Hub in Orleans that houses many specialists under one roof; an innovative evolution in healthcare creating a one-stop-shop for all your health needs.

The Need.

The Montfort Foundation was looking to tell, in a more compelling way, their story and the impact they were having in the community. 

Simultaneously, they were also looking to develop and execute a campaign strategy designed to increase awareness levels and donations for their new location and accompanying capital campaign for the Orléans Health Hub.

The Foundation's Identity.

Since the Foundation’s visual identity and narrative was hitherto directly tied to the hospital, we conducted an in-depth discovery phase, and developed a distinct design system that showcased how their work is directly impacting the efforts of the hospital to improve the health of the community.

Visual Identity

With a deep dive (and seemingly too many  post-its) into the vision and purpose of the Foundation,  “BonHomme” came to life; a symbol of care and support representing the role of the donor in the patient experience.


Previously the Foundations only online presence was on the Montfort Hospital’s website. It could be hard to find, navigate and  difficult to truly understand the role of the Foundation. As part of this new identity we created a donor-friendly website which clearly communicates the impact of how donor contributions are being used to improve patient care and staff satisfaction. 

The Campaign

We subsequently developed a donor-acquisition strategy which included campaign creative, paid digital campaigns, social media campaigns as well as video, display and television ads. 

Video Campaign - TV & Digital

After helping build the Case for Support for the Orleans Health Hub Capital Campaign, we developed a creative campaign to highlight the various services and benefits of this new local, innovative health hub. At the heart of the concept was a butterfly which spoke both to transformation of health services delivery as well as a the campaign itself taking flight. 

We are more than just a thrift store.

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul has been operating in Canada for over 175 years and is composed of 800 conferences (chapters) across Canada. They help more than 350,000 people each year providing home visits to the isolated and material support in the form of non-perishable food, clothes, household items and furniture to individuals and families. The Society also provides assistance to refugees, immigrants, and northern communities. That’s what I am talking about. We love what they do and could not wait to get started. 

The Need.

The Society was looking to broaden the awareness of the work they do, and their donor base beyond their aging membership in order to continue their much needed work for the next 175 years.

the solution.


We created a new, modernized, donor friendly website that tells the story of the Society in a more compelling way integrating key points from their Case for Support.

Digital Campaign

We then deployed a series of digital campaigns and creative for various events (World Day of the Poor, Giving Tuesday, Christmas, etc.) throughout the year that ran on Facebook targeting Catholics across Canada to increase their donor base and website donations.

Print Campaign

We created a series of print assets to support the Society including an ad for the 2021 Ottawa Business Journal Giving Guide, New Donor Welcome Package and Monthly Donor Program.