Conference Roundup: Wooing Lapsed Donors
“Don’t just use your appeal or renewal stream,” Titus said. “Try adding your [lapsed donor] names to prospecting to reduce costs.”
She also recommended using telemarketing and e-mail: “Collect e-mail addresses on all of your reinstatement pieces. Try an e-mail stream, mirror your activist-conversion stream.”
Technique, finally, relies on determining the best way to elicit a response.
Titus said fundraisers need to figure out things like what prospect package lapsed donors came in on and what types of efforts their organization has a history of success using, for example: “Invoice them,” she said. “Make it look like a bill, and personalize it with their gift history.”
When all is said and done, Titus said, fundraisers must ask themselves, “Can you ever really walk away (from these donors)?”
Instead of giving up, “go deeper.”
“Remember, a reinstated donor traditionally has a higher lifetime value than a newly acquired donor,” she said.
But it’s not just about getting donors to come back. Graham Hunter, session co-presenter and senior vice president of Greenwich, Conn.-based agency May Development Services, a division of Direct Media, said it’s about getting the most value from them. To that end, he suggested, fundraisers needs to define exactly what constitutes a lapsed donor, lay out an objective for each appeal, and compare lapsed-donor strategy to acquisition, traditional segmentation and modeling.
“There is a difference in who you talk to as a lapsed donor and who you treat as a lapsed [donor] through your segmentation,” Hunter said, suggesting organizations use their data to pinpoint where the biggest drop in response occurs and measure it in six-month increments.
In defining the objective for an appeal, he said, the major question is whether the goal is net income or reaching deeper into your lapsed files. He also advised nonprofits to use RFM (recency, frequency, monetary value) aggressively.