Are Lapsed Donors Worth the Effort?

October 12th, 2016

Before we decide if it is worth trying to win back lapsed donors, we should ask ourselves why they lapsed in the first place.

The number one reason donors say they lapse is because they didn’t think their gift mattered or was making a difference. Notice that the donors are NOT saying that they stopped believing in the cause.

Lapsed donors are fertile ground for fundraising support. These donors are ready and willing to give, but it’s going to require effort to cultivate and re-engage them. Our friends at The Agitator have recently done a series of posts, one of them titled The Neglected Gold Mine of Lapsed Donors.

Everyone should be trying to communicate to lapsed donors during the holiday, year-end, and renewal seasons. Here are some quick tips on how to maximize your efforts:
  • Let them know how much their gifts are needed; show the they are considered heroes for saving animal lives.
  • Reinforce good customer service by making thank you calls to your donors and making sure your acknowledgements are sent out timely, most experts agree 3 days is a solid target. Sixty-seven percent of lapsed donors say they left due to a bad experience with an organization they supported.
  • Select the right donors to target. Traditional segmentation using gift recency and gift amount has served us well, but there are techniques beyond the tried-and-true that can greatly increase your success in reactivation.

If you’re still not convinced lapsed donors are worth the effort, remember this: Many legacy donors stop giving in the three to four years leading up to their bequest gift.

It’s our job to help donors understand that they ARE making a difference and that we appreciate their support. And that is worth every bit of effort.
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