A fundraising plan contains the fundraising activities your organization will implement over a set period of time. These activities will have specific, measurable goals. The end result will be a sustainable fundraising program that provides the necessary funds to fulfill the nonprofit organization’s mission. The fundraising plan is a powerful tool for any nonprofit. Before proceeding to Part 5 in our Writing a Fundraising Plan series, please review Part 1: Planning to Plan , Part 2: Reaching Out Into the Community, Part 3: Engaging Your Board in Fundraising, and Part 4: Individual Donors.
Part 5 of our series on Writing a Fundraising Plan reviews how lapsed donors should be handled in your fundraising program.
Because of the critical importance of individual donors, the fundraising plan initially needs to address first time donors, mid-level donors, and major gift donors. These three categories as previously addressed in Part 4 represent the majority of your donors. They are the people who support your annual appeal, respond to various campaigns and attend special events. There are other groups in your database that also need attention.
If you have heeded the importance of managing first time donors, this group should be relatively small. However, if you are just beginning to put strategies in place to manage first time donors, your lapsed donor list might be approaching epic proportions. Where do you begin?
Begin by segmenting the list into two groups: those who have only lapsed one year and all the rest. For those who have only lapsed one year, segment them by first removing those who only gave event, in-kind, or tribute gifts. If you have a membership program, separate membership and manage that list with a strategy specific to members. What you should have left are donors who made simple charitable gifts. These are most often the people who responded to an appeal.
Segment the group that remains into gift size. You need to determine what those groups are: donors under $100; donors $100 to $499; and donors $500 or more. There is not any magic to the groups. Look at your list and see if there are natural groups.
Develop a strategy for each group. You might decide to send one last appeal to the smaller donors. A strategy for mid-size gifts might be a letter followed by a board member phonathon. The larger donors could be invited to a VIP event or a tour of the organization. Your goal is for them to meet the leadership and learn more about the organization. The greater their previous giving, the more touch points you should apply prior to asking for a gift.
After seeing how successful the mailing is to the smaller donors, consider mailing to those donors who were pulled out in the first segmentation, the event, in-kind and tribute donors. These donors are very likely one time donors and will probably not give again.
Donors who have been lapsed for more than one year are much harder to bring back to a giving status. Take the same approach with this group as with those who had only lapsed one year. Remove all donors who only attended events or gave in-kind or tribute gifts. This group will most likely never give again.
Take the remaining list and segment by gift size. Based upon the number of people in the segmented groups, you might want to vary the approach. A suggestion would be to mail to all the individuals in the small and mid-level segments and call the larger gifts. Depending upon how long the donor has been lapsed and the size of the gift determine if a personal call from the Executive Director or a board member might encourage the person to give again.
Managing lapsed donors is a process that requires planning and when complete, analysis. What strategies worked and what did not. What strategies should be in place to lessen the number of lapsed donors in the future and to manage those who do lapse going forward?
The next part of the fundraising plan will review strategies for non donors and prospective donors.