Pay Attention to Retention: True for Your Campers and Your Camp’s Donors!

Most camps stay on top of their camper retention/attrition rates from year to year. Camps know that retention is a critical measure of camper and family satisfaction, so they use retention* to track their own performance as well as their primary competitors and the broader camping field.

But what about your other key camp constituency, the other major income source – donors?

Do you know at what rate you keep your camp’s donors from one year to the next?

This article from the venerable consulting firm of Jerold Panas, Linzy & Partners refers to donor attrition as the equivalent of termites eating away at your home (or bunk!). That may be a little dramatic, but it ought to get your attention.

Just as with your camper customers, you can be so much more productive working to keep the donors you already have than to be finding new donors to replace the ones you’re losing.

And just as with your campers, knowing why donors stay or leave can help you refine your fundraising activities to engender stronger donor loyalty. Asking both loyal and lapsed donors a few simple questions about giving to camp can go a long way to help you improve your donor retention – and keep the termites away!

*If you are NOT focused on camper retention already, read this blog post about how retention is your camp’s biggest bang for the buck to get started. 

Written by Dan Kirsch. Dan
 is a Mentor with JCamp 180. Dan’s focus area at JCamp 180 is organizing our annual conference each year. Dan also provides guidance for a number of our other professional development programs and opportunities.

Who we are: JCamp 180 is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF). Our goal is to significantly enhance the long-term effectiveness of nonprofit Jewish camps in North America. To meet this goal, we provide affiliated Jewish camps with consulting services, annual conferences, shared resources, professional development, and matching grant opportunities. Find more at