Why donor reactivation matters?

24th January 2016

It matters because it is easier (and cheaper) to encourage a past donor to give again than to get a potential donor to make their first gift.

Some simple steps for reactivating lapsed donors 

Set a definition of ‘lapsed’ donors for your charity. My definition of a lapsed donor is someone whose last gift to a charity was 12 months ago. This is a good place to start.

Get to know your lapsed donors by running some simple reports on your database to identify donors who have not given in the last 12 months. Also, you might want to find donors who have not given in the last 24+ months or, even 36+ months.

Create lists for different types of lapsed donors and take a closer look at their profiles, their Life to Date Value (LTDV) and the programmes they have given to in the past. Identify key or major donors, churches or businesses whose support you can’t afford to lose.

Create an action plan for encouraging lapsed supporters to give again. Focus on trying to reactivate lapsed donors who have not given in the 12 months before communicating with those who have stopped giving 24 or 36+ months ago.

Identify lapsed major donors and get in touch with them by either calling them or writing to them. You can deliver this reminder with care and love, in keeping with the character of your charity.

For example, you can gently inquire about any challenges they might be facing. “Perhaps you have been facing  some difficulties I’m not aware of….”  Or, you can acknowledge how busy the donor is: “I know how easy it is to get busy with many things, family, children, work, church, etc.’

You can ask your lapsed major donors how you and your team can pray for them. Then, you can tell them how their past gifts have changed lives and ask them to give again.

Create two or more reactivation direct mail or email packages for communicating with the majority of lapsed donors.

Use the steps outlined above for writing a letter or email to lapsed donors reminding them how their past gifts have helped to change lives, sharing with them about new opportunities and inviting them to give again.

Follow up with a second reminder letter or email within eight weeks of the first reactivation mailing. Often follow up communications are likely to increase response rates.

Make sure you create some inspiring thank you letters or emails to reactivated donors and continue to monitor their responses in the future.