Learn more about analytics and research best practices, as well as real world examples and solutions for nonprofits.


Jul 12, 2021

Are You About to Lose a Client?

Saying that agency life is hectic is an understatement. There are so many details to track on a day-to-day basis, it’s no wonder that sometimes we are blindsided when a client decides to fire us. Looking back at your relationship, were there warning signs that you ignored due to your busy-ness, such as 1) less communication, 2) asking for old records/results reports, or 3) a negative tone to client calls or meetings?

I’d like to share a simple tool that you can put into use today. I call it the Client Retention Matrix and if you dedicate 5 minutes a month completing this exercise, recording the results and sharing with your team, you won’t get caught by surprise again. In fact, add this agenda item to a monthly team meeting – it’s as important as discussing budget and revenue.

On the first of the month, set your work calendar to remind you to answer two questions about each of your clients:

  • Are their results great?
  • Do we have a great relationship with them?
    • Have we had positive emails or calls with them in the last week?
    • Is there a high level of trust?

If your answers are “yes” and “yes”, the client is in the green, Ideal Quadrant and that client is going to stay with you.

If you answer one question “yes” but the other “no,” then that client is in one of the yellow “at risk” quadrants. Better start making plans on how to turn that “no” into a “yes” and quickly. Perhaps asking for honest feedback or sharing other recent revelations you’ve gained working with multiple nonprofits (which your clients most likely won’t have), will help.

If your answers are both “no”, then the client is in the red quadrant and I’m afraid that you’re at a high risk of losing that client. You’d better start making your “win-back” plans. For example, Analytical Ones has many data-based tools at our fingertips that provide valuable insights for our clients. Providing a useful tool and showing your value can help turn this ship around and avoid running aground.

However, many clients decide to take their fundraising strategy and creative execution “in-house.” In this case, you can let it go and stay in touch. Or attempt a hybrid partnership, like using a nonprofit-focused agency such as Analytical Ones to do the data analysis. A win-back client is like a reactivated donor – often more valuable long term after they return!

So make a commitment to yourself to start honestly answering these questions for all your clients every month. It sounds so simple. But sometimes simple is good.

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