How to Reactivate Lapsed Donors

Today I want to discuss why it’s important to reactivate lapsed donors and how to get them to start giving again. Every nonprofit needs a plan. I’ll share with you the blueprints needed to rebuild that lost bond you once had with your donors and turn them into active donors once again. 

Why it’s Important to Reactivate Lapsed Donors

Reactivating lapsed donors is a significant revenue opportunity and there are three reasons why this is integral to the success of your overall fundraising goals. First, since they have already donated to your organization in the past, they have a connection. This past connection makes them an excellent prospect for them to give again. Second, reactivating lapsed donors proves to be more cost-effective than paying for an expensive rental list of those who have no connection to your organization. Third, they generally give a higher gift than new donors.

Lapsed donors prove to be better prospects than expensive list rentals.

Lapsed donors will only start giving again if you directly ask them to do so. Here are a few suggestions on how to reactivate your lapsed donors and get them to start giving again:

How to Reactivate Lapsed Donors

Low/mid and high dollar donors should be treated differently in the reactivation process. Low/mid dollar donors should be sent a reactivation letter. High/major donors should be called or met with face to face. Regardless of their dollar level, utilizing these four points is the backbone of reactivating your lapsed donors.


Thank the donor for their past support and tell them why you consider them an important part of the past successes of your cause.


Show them how their money was used over the years and give them a specific example of something or someone who benefitted from the donor’s past donations.


Reinforce the fact that you miss the donor and give them reasons as to why they should stay involved.


Include a call to action. Oftentimes a sustainer ask works well with low-mid dollar donors. For higher dollar donors your call to action can be in the form of a tour, an invitation to an event, or a face-to-face meeting.

Tip for Large Organizations

It’s often beneficial for larger organizations to look into modeling or co-ops. They identify which of the lapsed donors are currently giving to other organizations. Once identified, these will be the lapsed donors you focus on reactivating because they will be the ones who are most likely to give again. 

It’s important to reactivate your lapsed donors and get them to start giving again. A plan that entices donors to get involved with your organization should be a part of every nonprofit’s giving strategy.

Need more reactivation strategies, click here. Share with us your lapsed reactivation success stories on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Your industry associates will thank you for it!