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Identifying Lapsed Donors


The goal of a nonprofit organization is to acquire and keep a stable, and growing, donor base. Preferably these donors give often, at least once a year, if not quarterly, or even monthly. And yet, in the day to day operations of the organization, it’s easy to lose track of the donors who simply have stopped giving.

Donors stop connecting with your organization for many reasons, but probably the two largest are either due to financial circumstances changing or it simply slipped their mind. In our busy lives, “out of sight, out of mind” happens all too often, and not just with the causes we want to support. Before we can reconnect with our donors we need to identify who has lapsed.

The first step is to determine within your organization how you define lapsed. The two main categories are LYBUNT and SYBUNT. Those who gave last year but not this year, and those who gave some year but not this year. By most definitions someone who hasn’t given within the previous twelve months is usually a lapsed donor. However, if you find many in your organization give monthly or quarterly, you may wish to change your definition of lapsed to be hasn’t given in the previous six months. (Hint: Running a Donor Report for the previous twelve months will help you see giving patterns that may better allow you to identify what lapsed means to your organization. FundRaiser Select and Professional users may want to try the Donor Period Comparison report.)

Once your organization has decided what is lapsed, the next step is to identify any lapsed donors in your organization. The best way to do this is to use a grouping. Creating a grouping for people who haven’t given (LYBUNT and SYBUNT are built into the Common Patterns) within a certain period of time will allow you to run a report to see when they last did give, as well as start to reach out to them with a letter.

Now that you’ve identified what lapsed means to your organization and who those donors are in your database, you’re ready to start reconnecting with them and hopefully bringing them back into active donor status.

If you'd like more help on running reports to identify lapsed donors, we welcome you to contact FundRaiser Technical Support at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 800-543-4131 or register for our Reports.

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