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  • Writer's pictureThe MSG Team

Easy Way To Grow Your Annual Giving Program? Hug Your Nonprofit LYBUNT . . .

Do you have that one close friend or family member in life with whom distance does not seem to put a damper on your friendship? You might be separated by miles, but your relationship remains the same today as it was yesterday.

Once a year, or even less often, you see each other, but when you first greet each other, you share the most enormous, warm hug that transcends the message that distance and time will never get in the way.

If you are involved in fundraising and are unfamiliar with the terms LYBUNT and SYBUNT, it's important that you learn. LYBUNT stands for "Last Year But Unfortunately Not This (Year)," and is closely related to SYBUNT, which stands for "Some Years But Unfortunately Not This (Year)."

If you are looking to grow your annual giving program, look no further than your donor list. Bringing back former donors alone should help you reach your goal. Sadly, many donors fall off because no one stayed in contact with them.

Here are a few suggestions for how to use these lists to your advantage:

  1. Make sure you keep good records of your donors. It's hard to have a LYBUNT list if you don't have accurate records of your donors.

  2. Compile a list of 30-50 individuals who are on your LYBUNT or SYBUNT list. Ensure that all their information is up to date. Send them a card, give them a call, meet for coffee, etc. Simply put, reconnect.

  3. Give your LYBUNT donors a warm reception. Not literally (unless you know them well, of course), but figuratively. Be excited to see them again. Treat them in a way that transcends the message that distance and time will never get in the way.

  4. For any donor who makes a gift, remember to treat them as you would a good friend. Don't treat them like an ATM you visit once a year. If you haven't already, create a donor cycle plan for your organization.

Best wishes as you work to grow your annual giving program.

P.S. - We are often asked about how a new development director can get started in bringing in new donors. Creating a LYBUNT list is an excellent place to start.


To learn more about strategic and fundraising plans, feasibility studies, planned giving studies, need assessment studies, and capital campaigns, visit us at

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