Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lapsed Donors: Top 10 Ideas

1. Do a matching gift. Raise a set amount that you can leverage for a direct mail appeal. Have the appeal come from the donor and share why s/he cares so much about your cause.

2. Tell the story of why your cause matters from the perspective of a volunteer or client.

3. If you have a local community leader engaged in your work, have an appeal come from him/her.

4. Do a micro-campaign. Launch a small campaign around one, tangible outcome - say it costs $5,000 to provide a medical service to a patient – and build your appeal around improving that one person’s life. Remember, have a launch, beginning and celebration.

5. Remember, in difficult economic times, more people give – but they are more likely to give smaller amounts. Create an appeal around that concept. Select a low per person cost service – maybe it costs $10 to feed a family for one day – and ask small gift donors to help one family.

6. Start with an email ask; 7-10 days later, follow up with snail-mail (or vice versa). Snail-mail everyone on your list – or just those who opened the email but didn’t contribute.

7. Reacquaint donors with your mission. Many donors simply forget why you matter. Focus on what still needs to be done, rather than what you’ve already accomplished.

8. Reinforce donors’ image of themselves as important philanthropists. Phrases such as “as somebody who makes a difference in the community, you…” strengthens giving as part of their value systems.

9. Offer donors the option of making special occasion gifts. Tie in your appeal with holidays or other mission-based events – say, Mother’s Day for breast cancer.

10. Create multiple engagement opportunities. Prospects who write letters or volunteer will become donors. Donors appreciate that you value more than just their contribution.