Use the MPI Formula To Thank Donors and You’ll Increase Donor Retention

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Here’s a smart formula to use for ALL sorts of donor communications.

Telling donors exactly how you spent their money will build TRUST.

Telling donors exactly how you spent their money will build TRUST.

Send this information to donors AFTER they give.

And your donors will love you for it.

Try using the “MPI Fundraising Formula” for your thank yous.

What’s the MPI Fundraising Formula?

Last week I showed you how to use MPI to sharpen and focus your fundraising appeals.

Money + Project = Impact

  • M = what money do you want to raise? What’s your specific goal?
  • P = what project or purpose do you want to fund? (as specific as possible!)
  • I = what impact in the world will you make with this gift and this project?

How to use MPI (Money + Purpose = Impact) to THANK donors.

  • Money: Tell donors exactly how much money you raised.
  • Project/Purpose: Then tell them exactly what project you funded or what purpose the money was put to.
  • Impact: Finally – share with them the impact you made with the gift.

And let them know THEY helped create the wonderful impact that will help the world become a better place.

What will happen if you thank donors with the MPI formula?

It will give your donors specific information about where you spent their money. You are showing up as “transparent” – which is what you really need to do.

  • You will build credibility.Thich report
  • You will build trust.
  • You will increase your donor retention.

The MPI Formula in action.

Here’s a great example from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation.

This is an except from a report to their donors.

It presents clearly the MPI formula.

  • Money – First, they say how much money was spent. $42,707.

(I love that they made the number very specific – and did not round it up or off.)

  • Project – Then they describe the project that was funded: “the Monastic Trust Fund” – which actually is endowment.
  • Impact – But most beautifully – they say what the impact of the project will be: “to ensure the care and continuation of our beloved monastic community.”

This is extremely simple, but it really does WORK!

Donor retention is the name of the game.

AND these are tools that will help keep donors on board for the long term.

All the research shows that donors want specific information about where their money is spent and how it is used.

And most nonprofits do a lousy job of communicating specifics.

Strengthen your thank you's with specific information!

Strengthen your thank you’s with specific information!

How to keep donors giving?

Penelope Burk’s research found that donors say they’ll give again – and keep right on giving –  if they get these three things:

  • a prompt personal thank you
  • meaningful info on how the gift was used
  • assurance that the gift was used as intended.

You’ve got to cover all of these bases – in your fundraising appeals AND – perhaps most importantly – in your “post-gift” communications to donors.

Key Reasons Donors Leave

Jay Love, industry guru and CEO of Bloomerang recently shared these key reasons donors stop giving to us.

(And we all know that donor retention is the hugest challenge we have for the future!)

Check out this cool infographic here from Jay via Marc Pittman.

  • No longer able to afford support
  • No memory of ever supporting
  • Organization asked for inappropriate sums
  • Feeling that other causes are more deserving
  • Not reminded to give again
  • Organization did not inform how monies were used
  • Did not feel connected 

The MPI Thank You Formula will correct the reasons I bolded above!


Give the MPI Formula a try – in your fundraising AND in your thank you’s to donors.

You’ll keep your donors longer. You’ll build your donor retention. You’ll have a higher ROI on your fundraising. And your bottom line will continue to go UP! Hurray!

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!