Donor relationships are crucial to the success of nonprofit organizations. Without donors, there are no funds; therefore, nonprofits should work hard to exceed donor expectations. One of the most shocking revelations in Sage’s recent donor loyalty study was that only 29% of nonprofits have a lapsed donor program. That costly mistake presents a huge opportunity for other nonprofits to gain donors.
If you do not want another organization to come in and take your lapsed donors, here are a few ideas for recapturing your donors.
It is important that the efforts expended on your lapsed donor program result in revenue. Make sure you have a clear goal for the program and identify exactly how much is needed to create a positive ROI for the program. If your program isn’t producing revenue then invest your time in something else.
Identify who to target. Past donors that are true givers (above $20 or more than one gift), strong volunteers, or well-known supporters are great targets. Don’t leave anyone out of your email campaign, but make sure you select the most likely candidates for recapture for any direct mail programs.
Communicate your message with your lapsed donors clearly and specifically. Share with them:
- What you have been doing
- The impact of your programs on the community
- The results of your programs
- What is going to happen if your organization goes away
Do not call lapsed donors “LAPSED” or ask them to come back. This is not an effective strategy for getting them back. Simply give them a good enough reason to come back and support your organization.
After assessing who to contact and what you will say, you need to determine how you plan to communicate with lapsed donors. Set up a monthly program that includes email, direct mail, and phone calls. You never know what the trigger for giving again will be or when it will come. In the early stages of a donor recapture program, it is critical that you test again and again.
Test which variable has the strongest response, test the message that you are sending, and test the frequency of the messages themselves. Make adjustments often and continue to evaluate the program.
When you successfully recapture a donor, be sure to send a hand-written thank-you note. Send another thank-you note after receiving the first gift. This will let your donors know that their gift is appreciated and valuable to your organization. Some nonprofits may also want to send a very short survey asking how they can improve. It might reveal why the donor left in the first place. It will also allow you to improve your service for other donors and avoid the same mistakes of the past.
Recapturing a donor is time-consuming and difficult. Invest in a strong program that makes your recapture program less critical, but keep in mind that saving a donor is less expensive than recruiting a new one.
Prevent Donors From Leaving in the First Place
A donor who is valued by an organization typically does not leave to support another organization. Nonprofits can take preventative measures against lapsed donors by investing in a donor-constituent management system such as Orange Leap. Orange Leap is an online donation management and CRM system designed specifically for nonprofits. It not only gives nonprofits an avenue to raise and manage funds online, but it also helps nonprofits strengthen donor relationships. Its relationship management tools properly maintain donor records and preferences, making it easier for nonprofits to personalize and segment campaigns.
Contact us to learn more about Orange Leap and how it can transform your donor relationships and prevent your most valuable donors from leaving your organization.