Believe it or not, there is plenty of funding available right now for your cause. And, there are more than enough gifts out there for your year-end campaign this fall. Best of all, these gifts are the easiest to raise of all. So, where are these easy gifts? You can find them right in your donor files. Your easy gifts this year-end will come from donor renewals.
The Easiest Money to Raise: Donor Renewals
Just focus on your current donors – those lovely, generous, loyal friends who gave last year but have not given this year. These donors love you. They are your tribe. Don’t forget that they’ve already voted that they trust your organization by giving you their money. They’ve literally invested in your work. These passionate donors would love a warm invitation to join the cause again this year and bring more goodness and healing into the world.
Donor Renewals are Easy Asks
Remember, a renewal reminder is an easy ask. Because these donors are already in your community and are happy supporters of your cause, you can treat them like the insiders they are. Think of it like asking someone to come volunteer again – you helped last year, so come on and help this year too. Gently reminding them to renew their support is the easiest ask of all. But here’s an important caveat: you have to treat them like friends. Don’t put them off by sending them a lofty, formal appeal letter. Would you send a formal letter to your own friend?
Donor Retention is the Name of the Game
Donor retention for 2020 was 43.6% according to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project published by AFP Global. That means, overall, only around 2 out of every five donors renewed their gift in 2020. You need to go all-out to encourage your current donors to stay with you.
Here’s a format for organizing Donor Renewals:
1. First, pull a list of donors who have not yet renewed their gifts.
Pull a report of everyone who made an annual fund gift last year but has not yet renewed – these are the people you will focus on for the next several weeks. Next, add up the dollar total of this list. You might become concerned when you see just how much money is on the line.
2. Prioritize and segment your list.
Start by identifying the people who will be most likely to renew their gifts – they may just need a quick reminder. Or, you might decide to focus on your largest donors first – their renewed gifts could push your numbers up very quickly.
Remember, many of your loyal donors DO NOT know that they are about to lapse. They may think they’ve renewed their support. And, they may have simply forgotten.
So following up with them is simply the appropriate thing to do. Above all, it is not pushy or intrusive!
3. Connect with your donors. Ask them to renew.
For your higher dollar donors who have not yet renewed, try these strategies: Send Personal Notes: You could distribute the list to board members who are willing to write a personal note as a renewal reminder. Pick Up the Phone: Everyone on the entire fundraising staff could make personal phone calls reminding donors about renewing. Or, pull in a volunteer team. Send Personal Emails: Try crafting very personalized, individualized email messages to higher dollar donors. Remember – the more personal, the more attention the email will get.
Here’s a sample renewal script for email or letter:
Dear Ms. Donor, you are so wonderful to partner with us this year as a donor. You have helped (bring hope, clean streams, stage amazing artistic performances, feed hungry people in our community, etc etc etc.) Thank you! Thanks to you, (specific projects) have happened, helping to create (impact). I am writing you personally because our fiscal year will be ending soon, and we are hoping you’ll want to renew your support and remain a partner in our work. We are asking people to renew their support xx amount to create xxxxx impact (or reach xxxxx people), and hope that you might want to support this work again with a generous gift. The kids (or frogs, or elderly, or students ) need your help if we are going to be able to xxx (add more about impact here.). . . Please take a moment right now and send in a generous gift to help xxxx happen.
Bottom Line: Don’t let your current donors slip away. These are the easiest year-end gifts to close.
As always, it is a pleasure to share our weekly insights with you as we cover important fundraising strategies. If your organization is planning a capital campaign or expanding your major gifts program – we can help. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to schedule a free strategy call with us.