5 Easy Ways To Fight Back Against Donor Fatigue

by: Stephanie Adair, Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Have you noticed a change in your donors’ behavior? Maybe they seem less engaged by your marketing efforts – and donations have dipped because of it. Is it possible they just don’t have the same passion for your cause?

Actually, it might just be “donor fatigue” – the point where your donor base has become mentally and emotionally tired of your mission, and yes it could be due to personal frustrations with your organization.

A loss of donor interest can quickly become a serious problem, but with a little rebranding and a few new marketing strategies, your non-profit can regain momentum and prevent this from happening again. Here are five easy ways to fight back against donor fatigue.

Innovation Leads to Attention

The modern world is known for having a short attention span. People are constantly looking at new content and different products. So if your organization isn’t constantly innovating, you’re falling behind. One way to stay ahead of the game and recapture donors’ attention is to give them a new way to supporting you.

Take note of the “End It Movement”. This organization raises awareness and supports the prevention of sex trafficking. Their biggest marketing campaign is simple yet viral: On February 23 of every year, they urge the public to draw a red “X” on their hand, take a selfie, and post it to #ENDITMOVEMENT on social media. Over the years, millions of people have joined in (even celebrities), resulting in these posts being shared over 500 million times. They didn’t ask for anyone to donate, yet through clever use of social media, they have spread their message all over the world – bringing in new donors and giving current donors a way to share about the cause they believe in.

Thank Donors in a Memorable Way

It’s a small gesture but it means a lot. However, don’t just send a simple “thank you”, say something that will make you stand out. Get inside the mind of a donor: after taking the time to make a donation, what would they want to hear?

A good place to start is to let them know how their money was spent. The more details, the better. Breaking the barrier between the “donor” and “action” captures their attention and lets them know that they actually made a difference.

Don’t Pester Them

Perhaps this is one of the biggest causes of donor fatigue. Your donors are not an endless pile of cash. While you want them to donate to your cause, constantly urging them to hand over money can come off demeaning. Think about it: how do you feel about a pushy salesman when you’re making a purchase? What about when solicitors frequent your neighborhood? In all likelihood, you feel skeptical in both situations. Donors will have the same viewpoint if your marketing strategies emphasize sales too much.

One way to avoid being viewed this way is to adopt what is called the “80/20 rule”. Typically this is applied to social media content, but it can be useful here as well. 80% of the content donors see from you should be interesting and engaging, but not pushing them to donate. This could be a newsletter letting them know about progress on recent projects, a story from someone who benefited from the organization, or a new way they can get involved. Just ensure they are up-to-date with what your organization is concerned about, and in turn, what they should be concerned about.  The other 20% can be focused on ways they can donate. After learning about the progress being made through your organization, they’ll be more inclined to further your cause.

In short, be helpful, not opportunistic.

Host a Fun Event

Events are great for publicity, but also generating interest. Find a fun, even trendy, event where locals can get involved and have a good time – maybe a fundraiser, or a 5k run. It can be as simple as hosting a booth at a festival.

Whatever you decide upon, get out there and form connections with the local community. It can be the beginning of new relationships and further opportunities.

Stay Honest and Transparent

It’s a cliché – but honesty really is the best policy. Portraying that quality to the public may be more important than ever. In a world where news headlines and rampant scandals have made many people cynics, trust is an invaluable asset. Let your donors see the logistics of where their money is truly going.

Many individuals use Charity Navigator to investigate the honesty of non-profits. The website gives thousands of organizations grade ratings based on their transparency and use of donations. Find out how your organization can garner a solid rating – and maintain it. Sending honest, detailed financial statements and maintaining a trustworthy image are critical to building a solid relationship with your donors – one that will keep them coming back.