Winning Back Those Lapsed Donors – Part Two

Sections of this topic

    Continuing (from Tuesday) to devise/structure the process for rebuilding our relationship with our lapsed donors….

    Our next step is to design our solicitation strategies based upon how “major” the lapsed donors’ gifts were … and might be again. That helps us decide whether we just send solicitation letters with return gift envelopes enclosed; if we send letters followed by phone calls; whether we just call for decisions over the phone; or, if we write or call to seek meetings to discuss their renewals in person.

    We also give serious (sensitive) thought and consideration to deciding if we’ll ask that they renew their previous/last gift, or if we see potential for seeking an increased contribution.

    Consider using one or more of the following statements sometime during your lapsed gift renewal contacts as you seek to convince those lapsed donors to reinstate their gifts:

    • Your support has always meant so much to us. May we count on you again this year?

    • We missed your participation in our campaign last year (or specify if it’s been a longer period). Please join us for another year.

    • We take great pride in having your name associated with our institution. We have missed that association, and I hope we can count on your participation again this year.

    • We are aware that you chose not to renew your gift to us last year (or in the year it ended). We welcome this opportunity to ask if that was because of something we did that we can now remedy, or if it is something out of our control. We will soon contact you to ask what we can try to do to win back your important support.

    • I was reviewing this year’s list of important contributors, and could not help but notice that your name was missing. That’s why I wanted to contact you, to respectfully ask that you consider renewing your gift for this year’s campaign.

    • There is a good chance we will establish a new record of gift support this year for our institution, but only if important contributors such as you continue to invest in our institution. Can we count on your support again this year?

    And, an added note: We always looked to connect the renewal of lapsed gifts to a current matching or challenge grant program. which tends to be a compelling “selling” point. And we found, more often than not, that the “challenger” allowed us to use those renewed gifts as “new” money when that was a requirement for matching funds.


    If you have a question or comment for Tony, he can be reached at There is also a lot of good fundraising information on his website:


    If you would like to comment/expand on the above, or would just like to offer your thoughts on the subject of this posting, we encourage you to “Leave a Reply” at the bottom of this page, click on the feedback link at the top of the page, or send an email to the author of this posting.