Reconnecting with Lapsed Donors
As a nonprofit fundraiser and leader, when you review your donor database management system throughout the year, you may come across the absence of donors who have supported your cause in the past. While many lapsed donors have drifted away for reasons beyond your control, it's crucial to recognize that some of them can be re-engaged, and these supporters are well worth your attention.
THE IMPORTANCE OF RE-ENGAGING LAPSED DONORS
Reconnecting with lapsed donors is not only easier but also more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. Lapsed donors are not "cold" prospects. They are already familiar with your cause and organization, and you don't need to convince them of your legitimacy.
These individuals have supported your mission before, and it's highly likely that they still share a commitment to your cause. Furthermore, lapsed donors offer valuable insights into why donors lapse and at which stage in your year or donor cultivation cycle it occurred.
While some may have lapsed due to factors beyond your control, others might have lost interest because of infrequent communication, excessive solicitations, or a lack of recognition for their contributions. Gathering this feedback can significantly improve your donor retention strategies in the future.
STRATEGIES FOR RE-ENGAGING LAPSED DONORS
Consider in-person meetings, such as coffee dates, especially for VIP or major donors with whom you've had a personal connection.
Utilize phone calls and face-to-face Zoom sessions as efficient alternatives to update lapsed donors on your recent achievements.
At the very least, express your gratitude with a handwritten note, thanking them for their past support and expressing your hope for future engagement.
Segment your email list to target lapsed supporters who haven't engaged recently.
Seek their input and preferences regarding the content they'd like to receive from you and implement their feedback.
Personalize all communications by addressing donors by their name in the greeting and strategically throughout the email. Avoid generic salutations like "Dear Friend.”
ACKNOWLEDGE GIVING ANNIVERSARIES:
Keep track of the last donation date for lapsed donors.
Send a letter or email expressing gratitude for their past contributions and highlight the impact their donations had on your organization's accomplishments since their last gift.
DEVELOP A PLAN:
Create a comprehensive strategy for re-engaging lapsed donors, just as you would for your active donors.
Make a genuine effort to understand their preferences and interests in your organization.
Even if they can no longer donate, consider how they can continue supporting your cause through volunteering, providing feedback, or promoting your nonprofit to their social circles.
REKINDLING OLD FRIENDSHIPS
In the realm of nonprofit development, it's fundamentally about connecting with those who support your organization's work. Think of lapsed donors as old friends who may have gone without communication for a while. The relationship remains open, and with the right approach, you can rekindle their support for your cause.
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