When it comes to knowing who your donors are in your database, you may have heard of the term LYBUNT. Just in case you haven’t, a LYBUNT is a donor who gave “Last Year But Unfortunately Not This” Year.

If you’re looking at your donation reports for 2012 and want to get a jump on your donations in the first quarter of the year, why not look at LYBUNTs? This means you would look at all donors who gave in 2011, but not in 2012. This can also be applied to your fiscal year if you have programs that are driven by that particular calendar. Your most recent donors are the ones that are most inclined to give again, so ask!

You might be thinking, “But I just sent them the year end appeal in November, I can’t ask again”. Don’t worry! The holidays are a busy time. Sometimes a gentle reminder is all a person needs write that check. This should also be built into your communication plan as a targeted mailing so that your appeals can be properly timed throughout the year.

So what do I put in my LYBUNT ask-letter? Here are a few suggestions.

  • DO thank them for their past support. Mention the dollar amount and program if it was specified. Mention what it helped your organization accomplish. “In 2011, you affirmed your belief in the value of the ABC Organization by giving a gift of $50 to the XYZ Program. With your contribution, we were able to….”
  • DO remind them of the year-end appeal story you recently shared, and how your organization has made an impact.  In November we told you the story of Timmy. Because of his involvement with the ABC Organization, he is now able to…”
  • DO let them know what is happening with your organization in 2013. What do you hope to accomplish? How can their generous support help your organization reach those goals?
  • DO make sure your list is accurate and remove donors that have given since January 1, 2012, if those are your LYBUNT parameters. If you’re looking at a list of donors that gave in 2011, but not in 2012, make sure your “not in 2012” dates go to the day you are pulling your mailing list. Include soft credit donors that might give through a foundation or workplace campaign.
  • DO make this personal! It’s likely that you are sending this to a much smaller group of people than your usual appeal list. Take the donors in your LYBUNT list that gave for example, $100 or more, and handwrite a note on the letter.
  • DO NOT let your LYBUNTs become a lost opportunity for continued giving!

So, the next time your director, or favorite fundraising consultant, asks for a LYBUNT list, you won’t have to respond with a “gesundheit!!”