Monday Mixtape 012: Donor Lifetime Value, Growth Mindset, & Thinking Long-Term

Monday Mixtape 012: Donor Lifetime Value, Growth Mindset, & Thinking Long-Term

Here’s your Monday Mixtape, a weekly newsletter from CauseVox designed to jumpstart your week, challenge your thinking, and inspire you to keep at it.

Each week, we’ll hand-pick must-read articles, thinking, resources, and stories for nonprofit fundraisers and leaders and drop it in your inbox. Have suggestions or questions? Let us know at Enjoy this week’s Mixtape!

Do you have dirt under your fingernails?

I do! It’s planting time!

Spring is here, and whether you’ve got a window box or 50 acres, it’s a busy time of year if you’re a gardener.

My community garden has opened for the season, and I am in dirt-loving euphoria. It’s so inspiring to see how my neighbors come together every year, and transform what would otherwise be an empty lot into a little vegetable paradise. Power of community, y’all.

Fundraising professionals are a lot like gardeners. We prepare the ground, plant seeds, and cultivate growing relationships, all for a greater harvest.

Is that too corny? Then lettuce continue.

Here’s this week’s mix:

“He plants trees to benefit another generation.” –Caecilius Statius

Track #1: Lifetime Value: What It Is, and What It Isn’t, by Zach Shefska at Fundraising Report Card

The probable harvest affects how you plant. It would be weird to expect an apple bonanza if you hadn’t planted a single tree. Likewise, if you’ve planted ten zucchini plants (don’t do it), you had better have a plan for all that squash. Obviously, nothing is guaranteed in gardens or nonprofits. However, it’s useful to make some data-based predictions.

Zach’s post is a great introduction to Donor Lifetime Value (LTV), and how to calculate it. LTV is a prediction of how much money you can expect to receive from a segment of donors over the lifetime of their giving. It’s basically how you determine what you’ve planted, and how it’s likely to yield. It puts a dollar-value on donor retention and is useful for targeting your fundraising strategy to donor segments. Zach explains clearly and concisely and walks you through the math.

Track #2: How To Actually Calculate Donor Retention (The Right Way) & 8 Essential Tips For Effective Donor Retention by Tina Jepson at CauseVox

Do you know your donor retention rate? Tina’s post will help you calculate it quickly and easily, even if your data isn’t perfect. Numbers are great, but they only become useful when they inform what you actually do. Tina offers concrete suggestions for encouraging your donors to stick around, which will, in turn, influence your retention numbers.

Weekly Wow

This week we launched a new page that highlights how CauseVox’s customers are inspiring, activating, and rallying their community of supporters to fight for their cause.

At CauseVox, we fundamentally believe that “together we can help good flourish” and this page is designed to celebrate nonprofit fundraisers and leaders who believe in community-driven fundraising.

Take a look here.

Track #3: Retention Is The New Acquisition by Danielle Johnson-Vermenton at npEngage

Every year, I’m seduced by the brightly colored annual flowers at my garden center. I know they’re only good for one season, but they’re very, very pretty. But if I want to get the most bang for my gardening buck, I’m going to go for perennials–the plants that come back every year. You only have to buy those once, if you take care of them.

In this piece, Danielle explains why investing in the donors you have is a better use of your development dollars than acquisition. She has ten tips for retention strategy, including ways to fold retention into what you’re already doing.

Track #4: Four Ways To Dig For Gold In Last Year’s Fundraising Campaigns, by Candace Cody at CauseVox

Every year, I’ll find a plant in the garden that surprises me. Maybe a bird dropped it, maybe I just don’t remember, but there it is, growing away. Somehow, a seed was planted last year.

Have you already planted the seeds for this year’s fundraising campaigns? Take a look at last year, and see what might be growing or ready for some careful tending. In this post Candace explores four major areas that could be flowering right under your nose, including recurring donors, new demographics, potential matching gifts, or enthusiastic influencers who are already excited about your cause.

Bonus Tracks

Cultivate a growth mindset

Remember the end goal…

Some springtime songs…

By The Way…

Did you miss our community-driven fundraising training last week?

No worries. We know you’re busy, so we recorded it 🙂

You can watch the recording and view the slides here.

Thanks for reading!

– Megan

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P.S. Questions about this week’s mix? Suggestions for next week? Don’t leave me in the dark. Let me know by emailing me at

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