Lapsed Member Letters (and a few random thoughts for the end of the year)

Lapsed Member Letters (and a few random thoughts for the end of the year)

I sincerely hope that you are settling in for a great – and safe – New Year’s celebration. I also hope you’re opening the mail every day and keeping up with the thank you letters going back the other way.

And I hope that you’re taking advantage of the extra “Wednesday” this month (See Lapsed Members and Five-Wednesday Months) as a reminder to chase your lapsed members.


Fundraiser’s Almanac – December


I have several other quick topics I can report on this week:

First, the early returns are in from the A/B test I conducted (See A Few Thoughts on A/B Testing) using a 4-page letter and a 1-page letter. To date, the 4-page letter is leading the way with 17 responses and $1,445. The 1-page letter has 11 responses so far and $1,135. It’s early yet, of course, and most of the returns will come in during the next two weeks. I’ll keep you posted.


I’ve also corresponded with “Rick” from Mystic, Connecticut about A/B testing. Rick shared a link to an interesting NPR story featured on Planet Money about A/B testing. He also asked whether anyone has tested the “Donate Now” button wording every non-profit has on their home page to see if different wording got better results.

The answer is YES. The DONATE button is one of the most often tested parts of nonprofit websites. Placement (high and to the right on every page), color (yellow), and size large but not too large have been tested. The words DONATE and DONATE NOW are effective, and generally more effective than SUPPORT or JOIN. But the research also suggests that if you add the name of the organization or program after the word “SUPPORT” (for example, “SUPPORT ALC” or “SUPPORT JUNIOR NATURALISTS”), it is even more effective (by a significant margin – 10-15%) than any of those others. Sounds like something worth testing in the land trust community, also.


Last, I thought I’d pass along another plug for Vu’s increasingly popular blog Non-Profit With Balls. If you’re not a regular reader, I strongly suggest starting in 2016. This week’s entry features lessons he has gathered from the non-profit sector this year. This is an exercise worth doing for all of us, but Vu nails it so well in so many ways, it’s worth the read. Here’s a sample – the one that particularly spoke to me:

Bigotry is like getting something stuck in your teeth. This is one of the best analogies I’ve heard this year, and I don’t remember who said it. I think this guy, Jay Smooth, who says “Being a clean person is something that you maintain and work on every day. We don’t assume that I’m a clean person therefore I don’t need to brush my teeth. And when someone suggests to us that we’ve got something stuck in our teeth, we don’t say ‘Wh-what do you mean? I have something stuck in my teeth? I’m a clean person!’” Just because we attend a racism or sexism training or whatever, doesn’t mean that we are done forever. We need to constantly look in the mirror and floss each day, and appreciate those kind enough to give feedback (“Dude, you got a little racism stuck in your teeth…”)


Now that I’ve provided you a brief diversion, time to get back to your thank you letters and lapsed member calls.

Happy New Year!




Photo credit: Cassin Finch by Walt Kaesler.


Find out how David can help you with your membership fundraising here.

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