If your organization has been around longer than a year, then you have lapsed donors.
It’s an unfortunate fact of life, just like taxes and dentist appointments. Your nonprofit can’t avoid having lapsed donors—no nonprofit can.
So…what’s their deal?
Lapsed donors are people who haven’t given to your organization in X amount of time. Your duration of time will vary, but essentially it’s people who were a donor and now they’re not.
And while it can be easy to assume that the reason they haven’t given to you is because they’re angry at your organization or don’t like something you did (or didn’t do), that’s rarely the case.
Usually a donor isn’t mad, they’ve just forgotten about your nonprofit.
They very likely give to several causes and organizations, and for whatever reason, your nonprofit has slipped through the cracks and isn’t top of their mind anymore.
Often, a lapsed donor doesn’t even realize it’s been so long since they gave. We’ve surveyed lapsed donors for organizations before, and you’d be surprised at the number who reported giving in the last year when it had been 2, 3, or even five years since their last gift.
So…what does this mean? Where do you go from here?
Unlike having zero donors who lapse and leave your tribe, regaining lapsed donors isn’t impossible.
You just need to remind them why they cared about your organization in the first place. There are several ways to do that depending on how much data you have on donors. But, no matter how you reach out to them, there’s one important thing to keep in mind:
The only reason to return is to help a cause, not guilt.
Guilt may get them to send another gift, but it will only be once. The donor won’t give again, and this time they’ll become lapsed donors for good.
Remind the donor why they cared, why it felt good to help that last time. Remind them why they fell in love and chose to support your organization in the first place.
Let them see how they can make a difference with their gift, and you’ll be surprised how many come back.
If you have questions about how to start regaining lapsed donors, just email us at email@example.com.