Tip O' the Moment

Lapsed Donors

Lapsed donors -- people who haven't given to you for 24+ months -- are some of your best prospects for giving. But you need to figure out how to treat them.

Some organizations continue to mail them Renewals or send them a particularly strong appeal, hoping to lure them (or guilt them) back into the fold.

But I like to put them into a Prospecting mailing with a specially tailored package that acknowledges their relationship with you but also has a more aggressive "sell" of the organization -- reminding them why they joined in the first place. This segment routinely performs double that of an outside list.

The package does require a few tweaks:

  • Make sure you address them as a supporter or Member. No "Dear Friend" for these folks. Let them know right up front that you know who they are.
  • Citing victories in your letter? Thank them for their past support that made those victories possible.
  • When you're telling the story of your organization, acknowledge that they have heard it before. You may remember... or As you well know... are great introductory phrases that let that lapsed donor know they're remembered.
  • Don't ask them to join; ask them to re-up and welcome them back into the fold.

Consider lapsed donors as estranged family members. They're still part of the family...they just haven't been around for dinner in a while. Reach out to them, remind them of those special family recipes they might have missed, and invite them to come on back.

What are your tricks for bringing lapsed donors back? Please share them in the comments!