Charities must overcome many stumbling blocks when raising funds to support their mission. Non-profit organisations see one massive problem consistently – donor fatigue.
But what is donor fatigue?
It's known as the scenario where your donors may gradually stop giving to your organisation or stop altogether.
Non-profits blame this happening on several reasons, but there have been conversations from industry leaders to suggest that donor fatigue is merely fundraising fiction.
Could it be true? We had a look at the evidence…
What are the causes of donor fatigue?
These are some of the top reasons that encouraged donors to stop giving.
- I get asked to donate too much.
- I never received a thank you for my donation.
- My small donation won't make a difference.
- I had a poor website experience.
To prevent the feelings of donor fatigue, charities must deliver a balancing act of asks sprinkled with feel-good interactions. If a non-profit is asking a donor for more immediately after they have given, but not following up with other content or interactions. It's no surprise your donor pool is dwindling.
Charities have to emphasise a value exchange. It would help if you gave the donor something for the ask (the donation) to be fulfilled. Many experts have said that donor fatigue is possibly a justification for poor fundraising efforts.
But if you log your interactions with donors, everyone in your organisation can view the last communication the charity had. Avoiding mixed contact like asking to donate again or not saying thank you at the right time.
Ultimately, it's down to a process that pushes the donor fatigue feeling, and charities can fix it in simple ways.
Poor website experience is an issue many non-profits feel jeopardises their sustainable fundraising efforts. With many charities running on platforms that don't suitably serve their donors, the investment in technology needs to be prioritised.
But there are simple ways you can improve your website's essential functions, as mentioned in our post UX trends charities should adopt.
If a donor thinks that their donation won't make a difference because it's small or isn't frequent enough, that thought is down to you and the lack of information you have provided.
Donors give because they are informed about how their money will help. If a donor decides to stop, it's because you haven't communicated effectively what a small amount like £5 or £10 a month will do for your mission. Charities need to highlight precisely where a donor's money goes.
Sam Afhim from the charity Freedom from Torture, recently said at the Institute of Fundraising's supporter experience conference:
"If you treat supporters like individuals, and you talk to them about the things that they care about and come to where they are, then donor fatigue doesn't exist."
If your charity is experiencing a gradual drop in donations, you need to examine whether you are doing the basics correctly before highlighting it as donor fatigue.
While donor fatigue can be present for some charities, self-assessment of your non-profit should always be the first action you take. There is still work to be done to create an excellent donor experience and keep donor fatigue at bay.