How to prevent donor fatigue 1 month ago

According to recent research published by Pro Bono Australia, the number of Australians giving to charity is declining year upon year. Rightly so, these findings are of grave concern for not-for-profits which rely on donations for income.

With so many worthy causes having a compelling case for support that appeals to those with a heart to make a difference in the world, it’s important to remember that yours isn’t the only charity asking your loyal donors for support.

When donors are continually faced with requests for support and appeal material that stirs emotions, you run the risk of donor fatigue. Otherwise known as donor apathy, donors become overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information they’re exposed to and stop giving altogether.

When every donor counts, as it does in this current climate of giving, a long-term fundraising strategy must consider how to avoid donor fatigue.

Follow our tips to keep donors inspired and guarantee their ongoing financial support:  

1)Hold ‘thank you’ events

Invite major donors to a fun event which doesn’t lead to a request for support.

Throw a thank you event.

Celebrate the community.

Or arrange an anniversary occasion that your major donors can get involved in without feeling as though their financial support is the end goal.  

If donors feel like they’re part of the family and their presence is appreciated, by the time the next appeal comes, they’re filled with happy memories of their time with you and will be compelled to give again.

2) Request practical assistance

While donors understand the importance of financial support, in some cases they may not be able to give it which could lead to discomfort.

Offer donors an opportunity to provide practical assistance to avoid them feeling uncomfortable if they’re not able to help financially.

Give donors the option of volunteering, providing support through their business, or raising support through their networks.

There are many ways donors can help without giving financially, and giving those options will help donors choose their own method of giving.

3) Use strong imagery and videos in appeals

Donors are looking for something different that stands out in the sea of appeal letters they receive in the mail.  Strong imagery and video messaging used in appeals will deliver your message quickly and will stir emotion without the donor having to search for it.

Avoid the donor having to thumb through pages of literature and rely on video to build your cause.  

4) Build personal relationships

We know that people give to people and relationship-building is key to successful fundraising.

Forge genuine connections with donors.  When you see them at events a sincere look in the eye, a handshake, or a hug if you are on that level of familiarity, go a long way to showing your appreciation.

Hand-written birthday and Christmas cards should always be sent to let your donors know how much you appreciate them and their support.

Update the notes section in your donor management system with every conversation, anniversary and notable event and always open up this information before meeting with donors or talking to them on the phone.

5) Ask for feedback

Donors are more likely to generously support a project they proposed or had a hand in bringing to fruition. Mention in the thank you how the money was spent and that you adhered to their wishes. It means they are being considered and will go  long way to make them feel valued.

While it’s best to personally ask for feedback, for regular donors you can also send out satisfaction surveys so they know how much they matter to you. You can read more about sending donor surveys here.

6) Rely on data to determine mail frequency

If your appeals are quarterly yet data tells you that donors only ever give yearly, adjust the mail frequency. There’s little point sending three appeals a year that will lead to the donor feeling bombarded and eventually fatigued.

Analysing data from an efficient donor management system such as SupporterHub will help you understand your donor and better meet their needs to avoid them becoming fatigued.

An active donor fatigue strategy to avoid donor fatigue will help keep donors interested in your cause when so many others are vying for their attention. To find out how SupporterHub can help you implement a strategy to avoid donor fatigue, contact us today.