Three MORE Ways to Re-engage With Lapsed Donors

Recent research supports organizations using email for fundraising and marketing.
Date Published
08/04/2016

As mentioned in my previous post 5 Ways to Re-engage With Lapsed Donors, the best donors are the ones who stay engaged with your organization and give year after year. Sometimes keeping donors committed to your organization takes a little extra effort. And, getting a donor to re-engage after a lapse takes even more effort. I’ve already outlined 5 things your organization can do to recapture a lapsed donor. Here are 3 more ideas to help strengthen your lapsed donor re-activation initiatives.

  1. Catch them early
    The sooner you re-engage a lapsed donor, the more likely it is that you can win him/her back. Monitor your expiration dates carefully and establish a renewal/reactivation strategy that begins a few months before a donor is set to expire. A series of letters, well timed telemarketing efforts, and email reminders all work well for retention efforts. During the 13th month, increase the urgency of your appeals and use a stronger message. Perhaps include testimonials from other loyal donors and be sure to mention critical upcoming initiatives.
  1. Try something new
    Sometimes catching lapsed donors’ attention is as simple as sending them something new and different in their mail box, especially if you’ve been mailing the same package for a while. If your appeals tend to look similar from one campaign to the next, perhaps it’s time to test a different sized outer envelope, a new color scheme, and/or a fresh tagline. Get creative with your appeal letter – reposition the messaging, introduce new graphics, include an insert, or share information about upcoming initiatives that would entice a lapsed donor to re-engage. Offer an incentive for them to come back – free tickets to a local event, recognition on your website and in your literature, or a deeper discount on your member benefits.
  1. Think beyond the appeal letter
    You don’t always have to use a direct mail appeal letter to generate gifts. Think about inviting lapsed donors to a free social event, seminar, or party where they can hear an update about your work. Or, ask them to come and volunteer in your office or at one of your fundraising events. Try to re-engage them in the organization’s mission by encouraging them to donate their time and be involved with current happenings. In-person meetings (either individual or group ones) offer an opportunity to personally connect with the lapsed donor and reinforce why they supported you in the past, and why they should continue to do so.

Lapsed donors will always be a strong prospect pool for your organization. This is a population of people who have already proven interest in your mission and a willingness to support you. They will always be easier to enlist than a prospect that has no prior connection with your organization. And, as a rule, targeting them is a less expensive way of expanding your current donor base than prospect acquisition. By having a solid retention and recapture plan in place, you will optimize the potential this pool provides.

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