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Donor Acquisition

Donor acquisition concerns the acquisition of new supporters. Acquired donors are your relatively new supporters who have given a first gift. You can measure acquired donors over the course of a given fiscal year, or year over year. The real win of any acquisition is when those new donors stick around for the long term as retained supporters.

Donor Acquisition Cost

Like any other expense, acquiring new donors requires both human and financial capital. The donor acquisition cost represents all the expenses that go into recruiting a new donor, divided by the number of new donors acquired over a given period of time. Common acquisition costs usually include staff salaries, advertising, marketing solutions, software vendor fees, event costs, postage, and more.

Donor Acquisition Cost = Total $ Spend on Donors / Total # Acquired Donors

By calculating the donor acquisition cost at your organization, you can better pinpoint the tactics that merit further investment while zeroing in on the channels, preferences, and behaviors that will expand your supporter base. This metric is not only a helpful budgeting tool, but it can also allow you to compare acquisition costs across campaigns, end-of-year appeals, and more. As it is typically far less expensive to retain a donor than it is to acquire a donor, donor acquisition cost can help make the case for investment in stewardship and sustainer programs.