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Donor Fatigue Is Real

We are all in this together. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a global crisis that challenges us on the local and national levels. Major donors, everyday donors like you and me; and first-time donors have all responded as best we can, and then some.

As professional fundraisers how can we ask for more? And yet, we must. This does not mean we bombard our donors with ask after ask. After all, we know that is the best way to lose a donor. What we can do is treat our donors like people and remembering The Golden Rule: treat our donors as we would like to be treated.

I remember a colleague who use to say, treat your donor as you would want someone to treat your grandmother, with respect. Especially now, attend to your donors. Don’t just send an email or post on social media and think you’re done.

Now is the time to connect with you donors on a meaningful level. Use your phone to place a live call, speak with your donors, and listen to what they have to say. Sure, you might leave a voicemail the first time, but if you place a phone call a second or third time, they will answer, and you can have a real conversation.

Your donors and volunteers want to know how your organization is doing. They want to know about the clients and staff. They have invested their time and money. Share those stories, both the successes and challenges. This gives them the opportunity to ask, What do you need?”, to say, How can I help?”.

A fundraiser’s rule of thumb is to be in touch with a donor seven times between asks. This is a good rule to follow because it helps you schedule your contact points: phone calls, emails, newsletters, birthday cards, etc., between solicitations.

Professional fundraisers are collaborative by nature. I encourage you to share your good ideas, what worked and what didn’t, with your colleagues, so we can all get through this together.


Michelle Crim, CFRE

Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in startup and smaller nonprofits because we understand your challenges. Please contact us for more information.

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