Donor Fatigue | It’s Not Your Donors, it’s YOU

October 14, 2023

I see crap like this every day. On LinkedIn. In my inbox.

Articles with headlines like The Reality of Donor Fatigue and Strategies to Overcome It. Or Give Your Supporters A Break.

Usually from platforms marketing to nonprofits. Sometimes from nonprofit professionals who don’t have a clue.

And it pisses me off. Big time.

Truth bomb. Donor fatigue is not a thing.

If you’re a smart nonprofit fundraising professional I can pretty much guarantee it’s not a thing with YOUR donors.

Because you already know the importance of thank you.

You already know that giving FEELS good.

You know that the science behind giving reveals this fascinating truth. When we contribute to charity or extend a helping hand, our brains respond with a burst of positivity. The mid-brain actually lights up, releasing endorphins that interact with opiate receptors.

This neurological dance is complemented by the production of serotonin. And serotonin? It’s the neurotransmitter responsible for happiness.

Giving makes us feel good.

Fostering a sense of fulfillment that resonates deep within us.

Given this natural inclination, why does our sector so often turn giving into…pure drudgery?

Why does our sector dismiss donor care as inconsequential? Why do we, as a sector, under-communicate or frame every communication as an ask? Why do we present our donors with tough-to-navigate donation pages?

Why does our sector almost purposefully squash the joy of giving?

Before asking ourselves if our donors are “fatigued,” let’s ask. “Do our donors truly feel valued and understood?”

Once a donor gives, express your heartfelt gratitude. Emphasize the tangible impact of their generosity. Help them visualize the change they’re helping to bring about. Bring them as close to the action as possible.

Emotional engagement is the cornerstone of donor relationships.

Cultivate trust through regular communication. The lowly print donor newsletters can be your organization’s best friend. Not the usual “letter from the ED,” but a donor-centered newsletter.

Transparency builds trust. Consistency builds trust.

Your donors love you and want to help. All you have to do is love them right back.

It’s as simple as that.

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