An Alluring Proposition
Two rules for renewals
Try to always remember the two rules of renewing lapsed donors:
- Renew donors the same way you acquired them, especially if you bring them in with a gimmick (freemium, premium or sweeps).
- Keep adding efforts as long as your cost per dollar mailed is less than that of your acquisition mailings. It’s important that you continue to mail your lapsed donors your regular donor mail in addition to the renewal series. The only way to get a gift is to ask, and sometimes it’s necessary to ask often in order to get that lapsed donor to give again.
In addition, renewals can take forever to test when looking at the results for an entire series. Try testing just the first two efforts, as that’s where the leverage is. You can try starting your renewal efforts a month earlier and see what happens. Try an extra effort at the end of your regular series, and also try telemarketing if you aren’t already.
Joan Smyth, vice president of direct marketing at Covenant House in New York, is doing what she calls “anniversary telefundraising.”
“We identify one-gift donors and the time of year they made their gift,” she explains. “Then about two to three weeks before the anniversary of that gift, we do a pre-call to let them know the mailing is coming. We’ve seen a small but significant increase in telefundraising pledge rate and gift size.
“After six months of this, we’re hoping to see an increase in donor-retention rates,” she adds. “Amergent, our agency, proposed this project and helped us set it up, but our in-house call center is executing the project.”
This is a great idea that can be expanded into calling again at the end of two years from the date of the last gift, and it can — and should — be expanded into the mail.