A Few Ways to Avoid Donor Fatigue

Tim Sarrantonio

We’ve all experienced it – the sense that we’re starting to ask our donors for too much, too often.  Multi-channel fundraising can become a double-edged sword. So what can we do to avoid donor fatigue and ensure that our donors aren’t feeling nickel and dimed?

There are a few strategies that we’ll explore below to do just that. We’ll touch on creating a strategy for your solicitations, social media usage for fundraising, and the all-important area of making sure your donors feel appreciated.

Create a strategy for your appeals process
Many organizations have several projects and events occurring at the same time that have their own budgetary needs, which can create confusion as to where a donor should apply their contribution.

Formulating a plan for how your organization solicits donations is of vital importance.  The ability to brand individual campaigns and events while tying it to the broader mission will give donors a streamlined understanding of where their contributions will be going. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Spread out your solicitations to ensure that donors have breathing room to gauge how much and when they can give
  • Give donors options on how to contribute to your organization, such as smaller recurring donations or in-kind gifts for your fundraising events
  • Some donors prefer the public recognition that an event sponsorship brings as opposed to the less flashy yet more flexible goals of your annual fund

No matter what, your organization should be turning to its database to ensure you have the most up to date information on your donors and the last campaign or event they have given to. This ensures that donors feel appreciated for their previous gifts while enabling your staff to create a detailed portrait of your constituents that goes beyond their pocketbook.

Use social media sparingly
The allure of platforms like Facebook and Twitter can obscure the fact that your organization shouldn’t seriously consider these as fundraising sources until you put out mission specific content that engages your followers.

Is the lesson to not use social media at all for fundraising? No way! However, your organization should be at the point where you’ve built up a sense of trust and engagement with your future donors, giving them great content that focuses on your mission.

Social media donation appeals should instead have their own strategy, as opposed to just linking to your website’s donation page and expecting the money to roll in. Consider creating a special video for your followers with a link to a campaign designed for social media. Or maybe recruiting your volunteers to “take over” your social media sites for a day to explain why your mission resonates with their own lives. Think out a messaging strategy that combines mission with the appeals process.

Have we mentioned you should thank your donors?
The greatest way to ensure your donors do not feel that they’re an ATM is to create a sophisticated strategy for thanking them. We’ve touched on this before but it can never be said enough – thank your donors and thank them again!

Then thank them one more time. Make sure they’ve gotten the baseline of tax receipt information they’ll need and then build upon that. Any organization of any size should set aside the time to ensure their supporters are feeling that the mission they have given to is worthy of their time, talent, and treasure.

Got a question, comment, criticism, or concern? We’re here to listen, we’re here to help, and we’re here to learn. Leave something below or reach out to me directly at tim@z2systems.com. I look forward to continuing the conversation!


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