Fundraising, Trending

How to Re-Engage Lapsed Donors

According to the data, collated and analyzed under the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, established and maintained by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)...

Written by Gaurav Roy · 2 min read >

According to the data, collated and analyzed under the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, established and maintained by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy, the recapture rate for lapsed donors has been decreasing at a consistent pace. In 2015, the recapture rate for lapsed donors was at 5.79%. Over the years, this rate came down drastically to reach 3.93% in 2019. This decrease in recapture rate is not a good sign for nonprofits that plan their future growth and development on a steady stream of consistent and regular donors. 

A lot of industry experts have been responding to this decrease in recapture rates. They have been formulating strategies and work plans that nonprofits can seamlessly integrate into their operations and get results by bringing back lapsed donors into their donation pool. Here, we present you with the four best strategies to follow if you need to re-engage your lapsed donors. 

Thank Them for Their Previous Support

It’s always a good start when you start with gratitude. Even if you had thanked your donors when they donated, it always helps if you resume the connection by thanking them again. Express gratitude with sincerity and be authentic in your communication. You can follow the method of communication you know the donor prefers — email, direct mail, a phone call. If possible, attach photos or videos of the beneficiaries who received help from the donor’s previous contributions. It is always satisfying for donors to revisit the impact of their contributions. Starting with a positive emotional connection enhances the scope of the donor resuming the engagement.

Make It Easy and Hassle-Free for Them to Come Back

Do not make the process difficult for a donor to come back. If a lapsed donor is planning to return to give, the route should be as easy as it could be. If you are communicating through letters, always include a return envelope. If you are engaging telephonically, be ready when you call to receive their next donation. If you are discussing through emails, do not ask them to find out about the campaign by visiting your site. Include the direct donation link in your emails. It should take the least number of clicks possible for the donor to complete a contribution. 

Create a Personal Connection Outside the Inbox

Irrespective of the communication mode you followed to resume a connection, you must aim to engage with your previous donors outside of the inbox. In-person engagements create trust and generate a humane bond between the organization and the donor beyond emails and social media posts. Donors get a real sense of what the nonprofit does on the ground. The impact of seeing the work firsthand is always more significant than seeing it online. As the world begins to re-open post-pandemic, it will be good to start planning in-person events that allow you to re-engage with donors face-to-face. In the meantime, virutal events are effective as well.

Another vital benefit of establishing in-person connections is that it is a more efficient way of re-engagement. For instance, if you know someone from your organization who is close to the donor and can put in a word or two in your favor, there is a very high chance that the donor will re-engage.

Customize Your Communication and Donation Plans

While communicating with a wide range of lapsed donors, you must remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Within your donor population, there are different sets of people with different motivations. Not everyone prefers the same sort of communication. Donors also vary in their contributing capacities. 

You already have information on your previous donors. You know why they give and what sort of campaigns or causes they support. Customize your communication accordingly. The donor will feel more comfortable donating to something closer to their heart. Moreover, they will connect more seeing that you have paid attention to their track record of earlier contributions.

Some donors need more motivation than others. Donors who have a history of making significantly high contributions might need an in-person visit or regular follow-up over the phone. Some donors might not be ready at the moment to help financially. But they might be able to help by giving you their time or arranging resources for you in kind. Keep this variety in mind and keep tailoring your approaches to cover the widest ground possible. 

Subscribe to our newsletter

*We value your privacy and we never spam. You can unsubscribe at any time.