December 11, 2023 Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson


In nonprofit fundraising, lapsed donors can present both a challenge and an opportunity. While it’s disheartening to see once-committed supporters gradually disengage from your cause, the potential for reactivation should never be underestimated. Reconnecting with lapsed donors can be a cost-effective and efficient way to bolster your organization’s financial stability.

In this article, we delve into effective strategies for lapsed donor reactivation, focusing on rebuilding meaningful relationships, personalized outreach, and creative approaches. But first . . .

Before we can reengage lapsed donors, we have to pinpoint why they initially stopped giving. Conducting donor surveys, analyzing historical data, and leveraging feedback mechanisms can help shed light on their motivations . . . but the two most common reasons are simple: not being thanked for their donation and not seeing or understanding the impact of their giving (what their money is doing).

It is also common for donors to lapse without even realizing they’ve done so—either because their form of payment expired, or they moved and no longer received your communication as a reminder to give. By working to identify and understand these underlying factors, you are now ready to use some of these ideas to tailor your reactivation efforts accordingly.


Generic appeals may not resonate with lapsed donors who have drifted away. Tailor your communication and outreach efforts to reflect their past involvement, demonstrating that you value their previous support. Segment lapsed donors based on key factors like donation history, preferred causes, or event attendance. Sending personalized emails, handwritten notes, text messages, or even direct phone calls will show genuine appreciation for their past contributions—and present an opportunity for you to update them on recent achievements.


Reconnecting with lapsed donors requires rekindling the emotional connection they once had with your organization. Share compelling stories of impact, highlighting the tangible difference their past donations made. Utilize multimedia channels, such as videos and social media posts, to evoke emotions and remind them of the transformative power of their generosity. Reinforce the idea that their continued support can make an ongoing difference in the lives of those your organization serves.


To reactivate lapsed donors, you must provide meaningful engagement opportunities beyond monetary contributions. Invite them to town hall conversations, volunteer activities, or special events. Demonstrate how their skills, time, or expertise can further your organization’s mission. By fostering a sense of belonging and involvement, you can reawaken their enthusiasm and encourage them to become active advocates once again.


It is also important to experiment with different reactivation strategies and messaging to identify what resonates most with lapsed donors. As you probably know already, some easily implemented tests in the digital communications arena include email subject lines, call-to-action buttons, or content variations. These tests can provide valuable insights into the most effective approaches for reengaging your lapsed donors. Continuously monitor response rates, conversion rates, and the overall return on investment to refine your reactivation campaigns over time.

Ultimately, reactivating lapsed donors is a necessary strategy for any nonprofit organization seeking to strengthen its fundraising efforts. The above reactivation tactics may help you significantly increase the chances of bringing back your valuable supporters.

Remember, lapsed donors have already demonstrated an interest in your cause, and statistics show they will most likely reactivate at a higher average gift than newly acquired donors. And with the right approach, you can reignite their passion and turn them into loyal, active, multi-year donors once more.

For more information on reengagement strategies or to build a custom plan that will work for you, contact us at 630.562.1321 or

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