Friday, 6 May 2011

What do you do with your charity's 'In-betweeners'?

This is not about the re-runs of a well-known TV show by the way. In the context of this discussion -'In-betweeners' are two types of charity donors:

1. Those who have not 'stopped giving' yet, but who generally speaking they have lost touch with your cause. They might have given sometime in the last 24 - 36 months or so but they have not donated since. So, renewing their interest in your work is likely to be difficult and expensive. They are the people you mail regularly with your appeals or newsletters but who don't respond.

2. Another 'In-betweeners' group is the donors who appear to be 'Idle' at the moment. 'Idles' have probably responded to an appeal in the last 12 months; they are probably still excited by your cause and with some targeted efforts they can be inspired to give again, if you are prepared to act swiftly through your donor renewal programme.

In my opinion, often'In-betweeners' are closely aligned with the overall 'lapsed' donor population (those who have stopped giving) in terms of their perceptions of their relationship with the charity.

The typical 'In-betweener' doesn't feel any closeness to the charity and they might even feel unappreciated. S/he doesn’t feel involved, or well acquainted with the charity's recent activities or current successes. So when another cause or challenge comes along — things like financial problems, a troubling world event, a compelling ask from another charity — it is easy for them to leave your cause behind and embrace something else. But at the initial stages of this process the 'In-betweener' is still a good prospect for reactivation.

To say “Maybe you’ve gone through a difficult time”, show an interest in them, emphasise the benefits the donor will experience by giving to your charity, tell them how much you have missed their past support could be the best approach to encourage them to stay on board.

So, take a look at your donor base in the next few days and try to identify your charity's 'In-betweeners' - write a warm and personalised letter to them - remind them of the good they have done by supporting your work and invite them to renew their committment to your cause.

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