Each Donor Is a 'Guest of Honor' in Your Fundraising Budget
Ongoing donors: Ah, the donors we all love — those who give again and again, responding to even our weakest direct-mail appeal or e-news. But even these faithful donors can give up after a while and stop giving. Find out where the danger points are, and have a plan in place to proactively get in front of those times with a compelling reason to keep giving.
For others, circumstances prevent them from giving as they did in the past. Do you just forget about them? I hope not. Instead reach out to them and try to rekindle the relationship. They may be ready to think about planned giving or be more comfortable now with a smaller monthly pledge rather than occasional larger gifts. Make sure your budget includes a variety of giving opportunities so you can keep pace with donors through their stages of life.
Lapsed donors: It's not at all uncommon for a nonprofit to have many more lapsed donors than current donors. And granted, some of them are never going to come back. But others will if you reach out to them at the right time (for them) with the right offer (for them).
Avoid the temptation to make an offer they almost can't refuse — like a really great premium or a one-time "deal" that you won't repeat. While you may get them to give again, you need to ask what percentage will only give that one time and then relapse. Manage your budget for lapsed renewal, and always pay attention to whether you're bringing back true friends of the organization or simply bargain hunters.
Middle donors: As anyone who was a middle child knows, it's an easy place to be overlooked. The same is true with middle donors. They aren't yet giving at levels that qualify them as major donors in your organization, so they aren't getting the TLC from your major-donor team or senior leadership. But they are giving above the typical direct-response donor.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.