Fatigued Donors or Heroes for Your Cause? It’s Up to You.

March 25, 2013

Your donors should not be running in the other direction but leaping for joy. Do you make them feel like heroes?

Your donors should not be running in the other direction but leaping with joy as you recognize them for the heroes they really are. 

Donors are so fatigued. They are asked by multiple nonprofits to give, and then they are asked again. They can’t possibly stomach the endless messaging and competition from various organizations for their attention and affections.

Is this true? We hear it a lot.

I just read an interesting article in the Nonprofit Quarterly, “’Donor Fatigue’ an Excuse for Poor Fundraising.”

Author Simone Joyaux, ACFRE writes, “It’s not the asking that fatigues me. I’m tired of insufficient love from you. You don’t tell me how you spent my money. You don’t tell me that I’m a hero, even if my gift was only $25. I’m not looking for stunning creative. Stop it! I want good old-fashioned well-written fundraising letters.”

Two questions are floating around about donor acquisition and retention in crowdsourced funding and time-limited digital campaigns like the 36-Hour Giving Challenge. Did any new donors give to your organization? Will your donors return to give again?

We do know the answer to the question about first-time donors, and we asked about lapsed donors as well.

  • Only three percent of nonprofit respondents to our recent survey indicated they did not receive gifts from new donors in the 36-Hour Giving Challenge.
  • Nearly half of responding nonprofits (48%) reported that lapsed donors who had not contributed to their organization in the last 2 years gave during the Challenge.

So these donors have made the first move. Will the donors who came forward to support your nonprofit in this fast, fun community-wide campaign return to give again?  The answer is really up to you, whether the donors were “new” or not.

We hope Simone’s comment about wanting to feel like “a hero,” even if her gift was “only $25,” resonated with you.

The data tells us that 45% of all gifts made during the Challenge were $25 donations.

If you want more than a one-time shot with them, you have to invest in retention and know that they will most likely not give again without your care.

You have donor contact information. Use it! Reach out to them. Share what heroes they are to the kids, seniors, families or animals who depend on them.

We highly recommend you take a look at Simone’s entire article. It’s written from the perspective of a donor, but the author is a fundraising professional with serious experience.

-Susie Bowie
Community Foundation of Sarasota County


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