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Do you remember what it was like to have a long list of annual donors that supported your nonprofit over consecutive years? If you can’t, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Donors who gave gifts over consecutive years are the golden goose of the annual fund. These supporters proved they weren’t just one-hit wonders who gave episodically in response to a great appeal or an environmental event.

However, the list of annual givers has dwindled for many nonprofits over the past few years, making it a challenge for nonprofit leaders to resurrect their declining annual funds.

Why Do So Many Annual Fund Donors Stop Giving?

While there might be a long list of possibilities, research tells us people stop giving for five primary reasons:

  1. They didn’t feel appreciated.
  2. They weren’t asked again.
  3. They gave to another organization.
  4. They felt disconnected from the organization.
  5. They felt like they were being asked to give too often.

Which of these factors are within your control? All of them.

How to Win Them Back Again

You might be thinking, That would have been great to know then, but what can we do about it now? If you’re ready to win back some of the people who stopped giving to your nonprofit during the Recession, here are three things you should do:

  • Talk to them in a way that is genuine and transparent. If you gathered a group of your supporters who used to give you $100 per year from 2005 through 2008 but then stopped giving in 2009 and beyond, what would you say to them? Might you ask your CEO to address them? Would you show them the progress you’ve made since they left…and perhaps what could have been done if only they’d continued their support? Would you ask them to consider coming back to you?
  • Tell them you missed them and need their support now more than ever. People need to feel needed. Let your donors know they are the rock stars of your organization and without them the work that you do doesn’t happen. What would have been possible if your lapsed donors had continued to give? What might be possible in the future if they were to start giving again? Tell them those things.
  • Appeal to them in a very special way. An important strategy for resurrecting your annual fund is to focus on this key group of donors. What sort of inexpensive, yet impactful packaging would prompt them to open your letters or emails? What would your messaging be? Should it be a letter from your CEO or perhaps an engaging video of your staff delivering a heartfelt “We want you back…we need you!” message?
Why Reactivated Donors Are So Important to Your Annual Fund

Reactivating lapsed donors is one of the most beneficial things you can focus on as a nonprofit leader. That’s because reactivated donors have repeatedly shown a propensity to give and be retained at higher levels than new donors. In addition, reactivation strategies represent a “zero-risk” opportunity—oftentimes you’re guaranteed to at least break even on the costs of implementing them, while many will even generate new net revenue.

If you’re ready to learn how to improve your overall annual fund numbers by reactivating lapsed donors, download our resource, “Resurrecting a Declining Annual Fund” today.

Has your nonprofit started to focus on reactivating donors that stopped giving during the Recession? What has the result been thus far?