NPO Management

3 Letter-Writing Tips for Re-engaging Lapsed Donors

August 24, 2022

Invite your lapsed donors back to your cause with these essential letter-writing tips

It can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, we forget, and other times we just don’t have the extra funds available. Whatever the cause may be, we can all relate to getting sidetracked when trying to support the causes we love. 

Regardless of the reason why some of your donors have been inactive, you should always consider re-engaging them with personalized communication. After all, they were once persuaded to donate to your cause. With the right messaging, they can be persuaded once again.

One of the best ways to re-engage lapsed donors is to craft a letter that shows them you miss them and value their contribution. Here are three quick tips for writing the perfect letter to re-engage lapsed donors.

#1. Get to know your lapsed donor

How long have they been inactive?

One of the first questions you should ask yourself when getting to know your lapsed donors is: how long have they been inactive? Typically, donors are considered to be lapsed when they have not made a donation in 12 months or more. However, you will want to use different messaging when reaching out to donors who have been inactive for 12 months, as opposed to a few years. 

For donors who have been inactive for about a year, you may not need to do a lot of convincing to bring them back to support your cause. On the other hand, donors who have been inactive for several years may need to be reminded of the impact their donation has made in the past. 

What motivated them to donate to the cause in the first place?

Another question to ask when getting to know your lapsed donors is: what motivated them to donate to the cause in the first place? If you have this data available, you can see at which step in the donor journey they lapsed. Knowing which campaigns motivated them to donate before, you can more easily strategize ways to re-engage them.

#2. Come from a place of gratitude 

When writing your letter to a lapsed donor, the best place to start is from a place of gratitude. Be sure to communicate the impacts of the donors’ previous contributions, and how much you would love to see them get involved in your cause again. By reaching out directly to your donor to show them how much their contributions are appreciated, as opposed to making them feel bad for not donating, they will be more likely to donate again.

#3. Make it easy for your lapsed donors to re-join your cause

With a clear call to action, you will be able to present your lapsed donor with an easy way to get involved in your cause again. Invite them to an upcoming event, provide them with volunteer opportunities and staff openings, or give them the opportunity to give a one-time gift. If you don’t want to ask them for a donation of time or money just yet, you could ask them to subscribe to your organization’s email newsletter, follow your organization on social media, or fill out a survey to see how the donor experience can be improved.

Put your pen to the paper! 

No matter how you decide to approach your letter to a lapsed donor, just remember that it is worth the investment of your time and energy. Reconnecting with an inactive donor requires fewer resources than reaching a new donor entirely. Plus, loyal, long-time donors are great at spreading the word about your organization. Ready, set, re-engage your lapsed donors!