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Follow Up on Lapsed Donors

Earlier in January, 2012, I wrote about A Revenue Plan to Fit Your Strategic Plan.  I recommended that nonprofit leaders have a revenue generation plan in place that can be executed in a staged way over time to bring in fees, grants and donations that will make the new strategic work accomplishable.

Most nonprofit organizations run their annual appeal late in the calendar year to coincide with Christmas holiday and the wrap up of the tax year. Now that 2012 is underway, it’s a good time to consider a follow-up to former (or lapsed) donors, and to include in your message some good words about the new directions you’re focused on.

Here are a few tips to help you get the most of your Follow Up to Lapsed Donors.

Whom Do We Target for Follow Up? Checking donor history, the folks who have made larger than average gifts each year (top 25 percentile) should be on your radar screen. You’ll want a good return on your investment, so pick lapsed donors who have given most over a period of years (you decide: two?  three? five years?) and design a tasteful yet inexpensive package to get out by late January .

What is the Focus of the Follow Up? Refer to the story you used in your first appeal. The story is always about recipients of your service. The Focus is not about your nonprofit and its needs. You are connecting the donor with people you serve, and how the gift will help.  Please: no whining or “woe-is-me”. This is a very unattractive way to appeal to a donor. And quite unsuccessful. Note: A brief reference to new needs of your clients/customers that came through in your Strategic work will help solidify your case to donors on the fence.

How Long is the Letter? Brief.  If you can get some small stationery; something other than the standard 8″ x 11″ page stuffed in a #10 business envelope. It needs to be in something that looks more personal. Two pages of this small-size sheets is nice. The content needs to be appealing. Hey. This is an “appeal,” after all. there’s nothing worse than an unappealing appeal. Brief and to the point.

Be sure to track your results.  You should be able to add 10% net by doing this.

And also. Please be sure you reach out to your supporters who communicate via e-mail. These are usually younger donors, who give more on average because they’ll use a credit card (hook up with Pay Pal if you don’t have an online credit card account) and that usually means larger average gift.

Give it a go.  Tell me how it works for you.

All the best to you, friends and family for a fabulous New Year.

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