Donation Management SoftwareNonprofit Donor Software

4 Steps to Reactivating Lapsed Donors

Your number of donors is falling and you don’t know why—but you do know it’s time to reactive your lapsed donors.

You’ve identified your non-profit message.

You’ve strategized the best way to communicated it.

You’ve executed your marketing plan.

You’re well on your way to developing a donor list, but soon reality sets in. All your work at developing a donor list seems to be for nothing. Donors lapse.

What’s a non-profit to do?

Here are four steps to reactivating your lapsed donors:

Step 1: Identify Your Donors’ Needs

To better understand why donors lapse and how to re-engage them, you need to understand what brought them to your door in the first place. There are the three most common reasons donors engage in the first place.

  • A Personal Need
    Many donors want to connect with nonprofits that reflect their personal experiences. A family with young children may find support from a family-focused organization. A college student who has recently experienced spiritual renewal may want to inspire others to have the same, or receive training in how to do it within her sphere of influence.

  • A Social Need
    Other donors respond to an immediate need that touches them on a person level. They see the need, believe they can make a difference in that need, and respond accordingly. This is often the case when natural disasters strike or terrorists attacks occur.

  • A Societal Need
    Still other donors love to connect to missions that are bigger than themselves. They see a need like starving or uneducated children, domestic violence, or a lack of Bibles in the Far East, and they respond in an effort to eradicate those problems.

Evaluate your organization’s mission and identify what drives your donors. Is your organization a relief organization working to rebuild American communities affected by tornadoes or hurricanes? Or are you an international organization looking for long-term solutions to poverty in Africa or Central America? Or are you a Christian organization that holds evangelistic outreaches? Your mission will determine the donors you appeal to, and your plans for keeping each engaged will look different, too. 

Step 2: Keep Donors’ Needs at the Forefront of Your Communication

Once you understand what initially drew donors to engage with your organization, you must keep that motivation in mind with every communication. When reviewing your communication pieces, ask these questions:

  • What need(s) are we meeting for the donors?
  • Are we providing answers or inspiration? Which are our donors looking for?
  • Are we communicating the overall mission consistently and continually while still explaining short-term plans?
  • Do donors understand how the short-term plans affect the overall mission?
  • Do the donors understand how they are part of the solution?
  • Do the donors see themselves in the communication?
  • Do our donors understand our jargon?

Step 3: Communicate Regularly

When donors give, respond immediately. Don’t keep them waiting. You have a short window of time when your organization is at the forefront of their minds. That window is when they are open to hearing about your mission and your plans for the immediate future as well as your long-term goals.

Regular communication is made easy with StudioEnterprise with Advanced CRM. With it, you’ll be able to initiate contact and follow up in a timely manner without gaps in communication.

Step 4: Mix it Up

You have many different types of communication to choose from when communicating to your donors. Mix it up in your communication pieces, sending information about:

  • Project Plans
    At the onset of a project, outline a project’s goal and explain how the project fits within your organization’s mission. This will inspire hope for change and success in donors.

  • Project Successes
    Once a project is complete, allow your donors to join in the celebration of its success—and join in the vision for future successes.

  • Emotional Plea
    Allow donors to connect on an emotional level. Let them see the human cost to your mission and why their help is absolutely vital.

  • Testimonial of One
    Allow donors to see a need up close…through the eyes and voice of one person who has been affected the most.

With these four steps, your organization has a greater likelihood of keeping donors engaged and active. By understanding what brought them to you, keeping their needs in mind, communicating in a timely manner, and changing up your communication strategy, you’ll be able to engage and continue to engage your donors, and therefore prevent your donors from lapsing.