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Getting Lapsed Donors Back

Summer time is a good time to think about and prepare for your fall annual fund appeal.  The majority of nonprofits do this work in the months leading up to Christmas and New Year, so the competition is pretty stiff in the community benefit organization world.  So how can you get an edge?

I recommend that you and your Development Committee, among other things, go to the database and formulate a list of lapsed donors.  Organize the list by year of last gift (going back three and maybe as many as five years) and amount of last gift.  Time for some research.  Determine who passed away and needs to come off the list. Who heads elsewhere for winter months…which is a hint that you should send the appeal to these folk when they return, unless you can locate their winter address. Are there any notes in the file that give a reason why the person stopped giving?

Good to review your year ’round communication approach with your friends, volunteers, and donors. Are you keeping your supporters aware of what’s up at your organization during the year?  Do you invite some of this group in intermittently during the year for coffee and cake and conversation? Thanking and paying attention to donors is the best way to minimize “breakage.”

Consider a specially written and designed appeal to lapsed donors.  Find out if committee or board or other volunteers know people on this lapsed list.  Might a personal note or call from a friend help spark re-interest in your fabulous nonprofit?

Making time for this work pays dividends.  There might be thousands in unanticipated revenue in this group.

Time to mine the gap.

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