Conference Roundup: Wooing Lapsed Donors
Organizations never want to say goodbye to a donor. And they don’t have to, says Nicole Titus, director of client services for the Washington, D.C.-based fundraising and communications agency OMP Direct.
During the session “Baby Come Back! Wooing Lapsed Donors” at the 2008 New York Nonprofit Conference last month, Titus said wooing back donors comes down to four things: strategy, message, channel and technique.
Strategy is based on what you know about your lapsed donors.
* What has the biggest impact on your donor’s long-term value? Is it channel, gift or something else? “Target your most valuable donors first,” Titus said.
* Look at the donor information you have and ask yourself: Do I have donors who have given multiple gifts or are they single or lifetime givers? Do they respond to telemarketing? Is there seasonality to their giving? How old are they?
* Continue to learn as much as you can. Are your donors giving to other organizations? Do your lapsed donors look like your current universe?
Message, of course, is what you say to donors based on the information you have about them.
Organizations need to “sweet talk” donors and ask themselves these questions:
* Do [lapsed donors] actually know they’ve lapsed? Titus suggested trying a straight renewal or reminding donors how long it’s been by sending something that indicates the date and amount of their last gift.
* Do they need to be reintroduced to the organization? Try starting the reintroduction with a prospect package that includes a special offer for current members.
* Have you tried using what works best with your current file? Is your year-end appeal the strongest? Or is it the first renewal that’s the most powerful?
Channel is the way or — preferably — ways you communicate with lapsed donors. Titus suggested “taking every path,” though, she added, direct mail is a great place to start.