Based on that information, you can pinpoint if that donor is appropriate to try to reactivate, and also to target the proper messages to that donor. One client Terpstra worked with increased its reactivation response rate by 50 percent using a co-op model.
Regression models can be effective for long -apsed donors. They are typically not as robust as co-op models because they basically originate solely from your own historical data on your file. The leading indicators for the right long-lapsed prospects to target tend to be transactional — number of past gifts, largest gift, etc. — and some demographic overlays can help improve the model, Terpstra said.
“If you can’t afford a lapsed model, try a ‘hits’ strategy in your acquisition program,” Terpstra said. Do this by including long-lapsed segments in your acquisition merge process. Then flag your long-lapsed donor lists that hit against outside files. These are donors who lapsed on your file, but for some reason are currently giving to one or more of your “competitors” — other organizations.
Mail just these lapsed-donor lists — the response rate is typically well above what you would expect, Terpstra said. It is essentially running a simple model.
Once you’ve targeted the proper lapsed donors for reactivation, use the basic principles of direct-response best practices in your communications. When asked by an audience member what to use to drive the ask string, Terpstra said, “Use their last gift or something around there for your ask. We’ve had lots of success with lower asks as well. Don’t be shy about downgrading from their last gift to encourage reactivation.”
The key, he said, is to remind your donors who you are and why they gave to you in the first place.