December 11, 2023 Amy Sewell

Amy Sewell


There’s no question that donor relationships are essential to the growth, sustainability, and impact of any successful nonprofit. Donors are the fuel that allows the engine to run smoothly in every season, year over year.

But establishing and maintaining those relationships takes work! That’s why, when reactivating and retaining donors, it’s so important to leverage technology and digital communication channels, which can be a valuable resource for you.

In fact, with each email message you send, you’re able to gather pertinent data: how long donors spent reading your message, what button they clicked on . . . even what messages they ignored! And combined with automated messages, this data can be turned into a powerful reengagement engine, encouraging those with a heart for your mission to continue growing in relationship with you.

Here are a few ideas we’ve seen work well:

1. Catch donors before they lapse

In the online space, you can automate messages to send to donors who are about to lapse. Don’t immediately send an appeal for funds! Instead, consider sharing some encouraging stories and heartfelt thanks for the impact they’ve already made in partnership with you.

2. Keep your message in front of lapsed donors

Digital advertising can target specific lapsed donors with a message on social media platforms, search engines, and the websites they regularly visit. The lapsed donor group continues to be one of the best audiences we see for reactivation through digital advertising, and it can be done year-round!

3. Grab their attention with a new channel

For most organizations, text messages remain an area of opportunity—especially as we’re seeing open rates as high as 98%! A video of thanks or an invite to a campaign is more likely to get seen through text. For one client, we recently saw that texts not only did a great job of reactivating, but they brought donors in at a higher average gift as well.

Technology by itself cannot grow your organization—it’s just one tool. But when it’s used strategically to inform your communications, it can be a great resource in reactivating lapsed donors, growing donor relationships, and ensuring donors stay both engaged in, and giving to, your organization.

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