5 Tips to Re-Engage Past Donors

Amidst the digital age, donor retention has been an increasingly hot topic amongst nonprofit development leaders. Crowdfunding, even large events, can draw in many one time donors, and while the first time engagement and opportunity to share your nonprofit’s mission is essential, the millennial generations especially, are less likely to give regularly, and if they do, to give less to many missions. There are many reasons for this, and that’s a later topic.

This is about staying connected with the folks who have given in the past, but have stopped giving for some reason. It is the development team’s responsibility to stay involved with their donors and stay connected - this can seem a daunting challenge.

1) Verify donor contact information.

You must do this. Not only will it save you money, it may actually make you money. This could be the only barrier between you and a donor who used to give. Your organization will save money on mail-outs (if you send them) to dead addresses. But, if you do make contact, and they give you an updated address, you have made a new connection to follow through and re-engage them as donors. If they say no, you will save energy and resources. Verifying donor contact information is something a trained and trusted volunteer can do, as well.

2) Connect with the donor directly.

Email or mail them directly, to the correct address or email address obviously. Email newsletters are a great way to keep donors up to date, but, a direct email with a personal note about what is exciting with your nonprofit may inspire them further. Email is quick, and many people prefer that as a means of communication. Some may prefer a letter. Keep track of what your donors prefer in your database software!

3) Call the donor personally.

Eventually, you may just need to call and engage a donor personally, especially if somehow they were offended. Ask him/her why they withdrew their support, and seek to make amends. Listen to what he/she has to say. Remember, no connection is worthless. Consider your donor’s philanthropic interests. They may be interested in helping a different organization. Pay it forward. Connect a relevant nonprofit friend with the donor. Both will appreciate it, and so will the greater missions. You will find this practice builds your reputation, as well as your donor database.

4) Pay attention to the information you do have.

Pay attention to the data you have on your donors. If they don’t want paper letters, don’t send them mail. If they don’t want phone calls, don’t call them. If they don’t want your organization’s e-newsletters, don’t send them e-newsletters. Respect each donor’s preferences on how to contact them. If you don’t have their preferences, when you do get in touch, ask them how they want to be contacted, and make sure to notate this in your database!

5) Don’t over do it.

After sending a letter, and a personal email, consider a call. If they don’t respond, you can call again months later. If they don’t respond, keep their information, and separate them from your active database. Don’t bug them. It isn’t a sale. It’s a relationship.

If and when you connect with a donor, be sure to ask them why they have not been engaged. “Just wanted to make sure it wasn’t any fault on our end,” and if there is a fault, apologize. Talk to your CEO before you make promises you can’t keep to fix it if the problem needs fixing.

Donor journey management is essential to securing funds for your mission. If someone has already given, they are more likely to give again. After reconnecting, always be sure to get their up to date contact information as well as their preferences for staying informed. If the donor says no to your mission, and the conversation is warm, you can ask permission to connect them with missions they may be interested in supporting in the future.

Record every time and every way you reach out to the donor directly. Chronicling the donor relationship journey is key. Of course, CharityEngine Software will help you do this easily and well.

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