Lapsed donors – we all have them!
But, before we really begin talking about them, let’s check out some important facts – The 2016 Fundraising Effectiveness Project report summarizes data from 9,922 survey respondents covering year-to-year fundraising results for 2014-2015, the donor retention in 2015 was only 48%.
Bottom Line – You still have a lot of opportunity to rebuild those long lost relationships with the lapsed donors, and give your non-profit organization another person to help you with it the funds.
So here are some of the most important questions answered for you:
# Why Should You Re-Engage Old Donors?
While lost donors may seem to you like a lost cause because they’ve not given any funds to your organization for some period of time. You might even question yourself why should you spend your time tying to talk to or talking to people who’ve long left, so here are the two extremely valid reasons.
- They’ve already given your non-profit at least once, which means that at a certain point they understood and agreed with your mission. Lapsed donors should be easier to convert than the prospective donors. Just because they’ve lapsed doesn’t really mean they’ll never be interested in your cause again. Chances are they may have forgotten, and many lapsed donors do not even realize they’re lapsed.
- This is cheaper than acquiring new donors – you already have their contact information and you know what they’ve given you in the past. This further means that you do not have to spend any money on buying lists or sending mass appeals hoping your offer resonates with someone.
Building Relationships – Getting Better with Ex-Donors
Before you start with the process of trying to re-build relationships with your lapsed customers, know what lapped means you as well as the organizations. Do you define ‘lapse’ as someone who hasn’t given any donations for the last 6 months, the year, or so. Decide the time frame and create segments so you know exactly who you’re supposed to target.
Once you’ve got the list segmented, you can follow these 3 steps trying to re-engage those donors that you’ve lost over the period of time. Here’s how you can do it effectively.
Getting Creative – The one thing you can be sure of is that they are interested – that is why they originally agreed on donating to your organization. Something though might have caused them to lapse, but you can always win them over, just try getting a little creative.
- Test out different level – It might be the case that a lower, monthly offer works for them than a high one-time ask.
- If you’ve got an event scheduled in their area invite them.
- Ask them to attend a local “vision trip”. This vision trip allows your donors to see firsthand the work you are doing. Seeing the impact you’re having will re-energize their passion for your mission.
Personalize – Personalization always counts when trying to re-engage an old donor. So the next time you plan on trying to regain lapsed donors, make sure you use these tips to create a slightly personal impression.
- Try a handwritten card. Believe me, this really counts – send a handwritten personal note explaining that you miss them and let them know the work your nonprofit accomplished since they’ve last given. A handwritten note means you really value their support.
- Get on the phone. Swear by the idea of talking – phone call them and let them know just how much you’d want them to be here, supporting your organization. Let them know you miss them and how even the slightest support counts in making things better.
- Grab some coffee. Get involved in some real conversation, and talk to them over coffee. Let them know what your organization is doing latest and how they can help in making things better.
Updated Preferences – Ask you lapsed donors to update their preferences to be able to understand exactly what it is that they’re expecting. Remember surveys are a great way to re-engage with your donors. Send these out digitally and ask your supporters what types of interactions they’d prefer. Or, you can hop on the phone and chat with your donors about their preferences. Whatever way you choose, it should reflect to your supporters that you care about providing them with the best experience possible. Plus, it helps to prevent your supporters from unsubscribing to your emails.
Once You Regain Them – Keep Them!
Chances are that with these above mentioned tips you will certainly able to convince them to make new donations. However, once you’re able to do that make sure you put in the best of your efforts to retain them.
Also, if you’re unable to keep a track of all the detail – the donors, funds, events, attendance etc. it is best that you go for the idea of using charity management software. Doing so will not only make management of things easy for you, but will also enable you to have more time to draw some new ideas for your church or non-profit organization.