One key metric that will determine the success of your fundraising program is reactivation of lapsed donors. If a donor has stopped giving to you, what will motivate him or her to return? How can we get them to fall in love with us again? You’ll learn 5 ways to reactive your lapsed donors.

Why Are Lapsed Donors Important?

  • They are familiar with what you do: Lapsed donors already know some of the work you do. This gives you a head start to turn them back into donors again.
  • They’ve already given to you at some point: Not only are they familiar with the work you do, they’ve made the decision at least once to give to you. This increases the likelihood they will give again.
  • Donor acquisition is expensive: Donor acquisition isn’t cheap. Convincing a cold audience to give to your organization is more difficult than convincing someone who has already donated.

1. Show Gratitude For Their Support

One of the most simple ways to re-engage a lapsed donor is to show your gratitude for their support. Let them know how thankful you are for their generosity and compassion. Be specific in your thank you language by looking up their giving history. For example, did they donate to help stop deforestation? Thank them for saving the trees and caring about the environment. Showing gratitude is a key way to rebuild a lapsed relationship. An appreciated donor is a happy donor.

2. Tell a Story of Impact

Share an impactful fundraising story from your organization. This is a great opportunity to not only refamiliarize your donor with your work, but to also appeal to the reason why they gave the very first time — no matter how long ago it was. The stories of impact focus on an individual person. Let the donor know how their support has positively impact the life of a single person. Encourage the donor to feel the success of this story because of their involvement.

3. Remind the Donor of What Motivated Them to Give

As mentioned above, whether it was 10 months ago or two years ago, your lapsed donor decided to give to your organization (out of countless others) for a specific reason. Research their giving history to find out what they gave toward. Remind them of this original motivation. Regardless of the reason they stopped giving, most likely, your donor still cares about the cause they supported in the past. Remind your donor that their support is still crucial in making a difference towards this cause. 

4. Tell the Donor You Miss Them

Along with showing gratitude, let your lapsed donor know that your organization misses them. Let them know you wish they were still a part of your nonprofit “family.” It’s important not to use general language here. Personalize your message to the donor by using their name and remind them of the last time they gave to your organization. Also make sure to tell them you miss their compassion and friendship — not just their wallet.

5. Ask for a Donation

You’ve come this far in re-engaging your lapsed donor. Don’t forget to take the opportunity to ask for a donation. A lapsed donor will never give again if they are not asked. Give a clear call to action or give them actionable steps they can take. You can even customize your ask based on their past giving history. If you think asking for a financial donation right away might turn away a potential reactivated donor, at the very least, let them know about the diverse number of ways they can get involved — financial gifts being one of them. Bottom line, make the ask.

Want to learn more about showing gratitude to your donors to retain more donors?

We’ve created this video course for you to learn more about nurturing your donors. In this course, you’ll learn:

  • How to properly thank a donor when they give a gift
  • Developing a great email welcome series
  • Ideas for using premiums to increase donor retention
  • How a simple phone call can results in gifts and a lifelong donor relationship

Read more about the Nurturing Your Donors: Increase Retention with Gratitude course.