Renewing Donors and Segmenting Communications

I've recently been getting communications from an organization of which I've been a member for a number of years. And I've been getting communications regarding my lack of renewal, which prompted me to go online and renew. The reason I'm mentioning this is because it reminded me of a number of things that I like when it comes to communications from my favorite organizations-especially in regard to lapsed donor/renewal communications. Each of these things can be managed/made easier with CRM software. If you're a ResultsPlus user and don't know how, please give us a call!

Here are my personal "Likes":

  • Timely. I received an email before my membership renewal was due indicating I was entering a renewal period. I'm certain this was no accident!Help: Define a query in your CRM to pull a list of members whose next renewal date is, say, in the next 2 months.
  • Follow-up. I didn't respond to the email by renewing my membership. I received a follow-up letter in the mail about 6-8 weeks later. This letter had different wording, highlighting that the organization recognized that I was already at the end of my membership (in a very polite way, of course) and that they hoped I would renew and continue my support of the organization and the services it provides.Help: Query your CRM by Renewal Date in the next 0-15 days to generate a list from your donor management/CRM system.
  • Highlights of What My Membership Supports. This is a wonderful reminder of what my membership donations accomplish each year. This message was in each reminder I received.Help: N/A. These words are likely not found in your donor management system, at least not in a way that is palatable to your donors, but I'm sure each person who works for a nonprofit can highlight exactly what you do each year to meet your mission.
  • Thank-You. I received a Thank-you after renewing my membership specifically acknowledging that it was a renewal. This may seem like a small thing, but it definitely made an impact on me. I felt that even though I'm not a major donor, the organization is aware enough of me to know that I've been around for some time, making donations as I am able.Help: Donor management systems enable you to choose different thank-you's when entering or reviewing donations, so you can pick one for your first-timers and a different one for your long-standing donors, if you choose. Doing so can have quite an impact on the recipient (at least it did on me).
  • Web Site. The communications I received all provided a link to a web site where I could renew my membership. The site was very forgiving. If I knew my membership number, I could enter it. If I didn't, it wasn't required.Help: Nonprofits have a number of options for handling donations made online. You can use sites like and then import the data into your donor managements system; you can custom build your own forms into your web site using APIs from your vendors to bring the data into your donor management system; you can contract with vendors to build and host the these forms for you, etc. The key is to identify the pros and cons of each way, and the work from there, knowing that each way will have its own set of challenges (but they are worth it!).

Are there other key components to your communications you know your donors love? If so, please share in the comments area!