Easy Steps to Re-Engaging Your Lapsed Donors
Your lapsed donors used to be part of your core reservoir of donations. Why did they leave you when you needed them most? What percentage of your total donor base do these lapsed donors represent to you, how much money are you losing each month that they are absent from your community? What is the best way to re-engage with this important segment of your donor base? Relationship-building should always be practiced and nurtured in your communications, so that your methods of reaching out to them don’t drive them away forever.
Looking a little closer to these past donors, what triggered them to join your organization in the first place? Was it that food drive or a hurricane displacement mailing? Maybe a simple phone call or email brought them into your fold? At the very least, you should align the return engagement that originally brought them to your mission statement in the first place. Each of your monthly or semi-annual donor drives should also include a conversation to those donors who have left your group. An update on your mission’s activities might be a way to re-engage these folks and offer them the opportunity to return to doing good things for your nonprofit. Cultivation of these past donors to return to you are considered plus columns as a win-win for both you and your past donors.
Reaching out to these donors should not labor on the points why they chose not to respond to your last several outreach efforts, but to offer them the chance to donate and continue to invest in your mission statement. You want to re-ignite their interest level and commitment, not drive them away forever. You are providing these donors the chance and opportunity to help make a big difference to a meaningful cause. Maybe offer these past donors a “special insider’s view” of one unique way their gift to your nonprofit brought relief to a family or family member in times of distress. This view offers the vision that most donors don’t always see—a personal “boots-on-the-ground” view on how their specific donation was able to help one or more people in times of greatest needs. Maybe this gift was just enough to cover school lunches for a week or a month, or even provide sleeping bags to homeless people in their community. It brings the true value of their donation to the forefront of the lapsed donors original relationship with you and your mission.
Donors who used to donate to your cause regularly should always be segmented out from your normal communication streams for special “win-back” strategies. Specific requests to re-engage them comes from your database that would inform you where and when they first became a part of your donor family. Maybe a simple, “We Missed You” message would draw them back into your positive donor streams. You might offer a simple feedback section allowing their voices to tell you why they left and let them offer you the best ways to re-engage and reconnect with them. A feedback section or a survey to these donors offer you the best success tool to help re-engage them back into positive giving. Other items might include”best-of” accomplishments of your mission, unusual subject lines for email or even testimonials and the asking of other means to reach out and reconnect with your nonprofit.
Re-engagement of your past donors is something critical to your continued success. It also needs to be managed and directed properly to neither drive them away forever or disconnect with them entirely. Consider each mailing or email or another channel you use to connect with these past donors as a new opportunity to re-ignite their original passion for donating to you in the first place. Look at your data to find out what trigger brought them to donate to your cause. Remember, it costs six to seven times more money and effort to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. Wouldn’t you want to talk to someone you already know?