Monday, January 16, 2012

Questions To Ask Lapsed Donors

Donors come and donors go.  But what do you about them when they go?  Do you give up on them or do you try and figure out why they left?

Nonprofits have to deal with lapsed donors everyday, and how they handle them makes all the difference.  It's easy enough to hang your head and move on to the next one, but that will be doing your nonprofit a disservice.  Instead of giving up, put on your detective hat and find out why they went away.  Getting feedback from donors is always a good way to find out what you can improve.

In their book "Wired and Dangerous," Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson list some questions you can ask your donors to get a better understanding of how your organization can improve:
  • What is one aspect about our organization that you view as "very positive?"
  • Complete this sentence: What I like least about what you do is...
  • Complete this sentence: What I like most about what you do is...
  • What are the first words that come to mind when you think about working with us?
  • What area of our organization needs the most improvement?
  • Was there ever a time when we left you disappointed?  If so, briefly describe the incident and list ways that we could have handled the situation better (if at all).
  • What would you like to see us do that no other organization in our industry is doing?
  • What have we not asked that we should have?

1 comment:

Meghan said...

Feedback is a great way to start. In addition though, once a donation is made, it should be viewed as an on-going long-term relationship.

For example, periodically share with them success stories and show what a difference their donation has made. Continually inspire them with stories about how they have helped. When you have events, make personal invitations to them from board members. Invite them on tours periodically and ask them who else needs to know about the organization.

And yes, ask for feedback when donations lapse. Also as ask if they know of any resources they could connect you with to improve upon your weaknesses.