How to Avoid Donor Fatigue

Your cause may be important. And your community may be in real need. But if the only time you talk to your donors is when you need something, you’re on the fast track to donor fatigue.

Causes of Donor Fatigue

There are two common causes of donor fatigue:

  1. People can become emotionally exhausted after giving in response to natural disasters. Many people tune out as a way of protecting themselves and recovering before they’re ready to give again. These people need something to feel good about.
  2. People get tired when an organization repeatedly asks for donations, without giving them new information or reasons to keep giving. Donors can feel taken for granted when an organization asks them to donate, buy an event ticket, volunteer, sign a petition — the list goes on. These people want to hear about the impact of the organization as well as their donations.

How To Spot Donor Fatigue

If you suspect your donors are feeling a bit worn out, consider these questions:

  • Do we have declining open rates on our email campaigns?
  • Do we have declining click through rates in our email campaigns?
  • Are our donations declining?
  • Do we have an increased number of lapsed donors?
  • Did our latest appeal raise a lower total amount than expected?
  • Are we receiving fewer large gifts?

It’s important to be able to answer these questions using accurate, up-to-date data. Fortunately, MonkeyPod makes it easy to track and analyze all of your donor and financial transactions in one place.

How To Prevent (Or Fix) Donor Fatigue

The real crux of the problem is that the relationship between your donors and your organization is unbalanced. You are asking a lot of them, while not giving much back (from your donors’ perspective).

You need to balance your Asks and Non-Asks.

Asks include things like:

  • Asks for donations
  • Asks to purchase an event ticket
  • Requests for volunteers
  • Asks for a monthly gift
  • Asks for in-kind donations
  • Asks to complete surveys
  • Asks to sign petitions

Non-Asks include things like:

  • Organization news
  • Program updates
  • Thank-you calls, emails, or notes
  • Newsletter stories
  • Videos
  • Q&As with team members

When planning your donor communications, use a table to map out all of your Asks and Non-Asks by month.

Asks Non-Asks
  • Email Newsletter
  • Thank you cards after end of year appeal
  • Email Newsletter
  • Program updates sent to appropriate donor email lists
  • Ask constituents to purchase tickets for event in April
  • Email Newsletter
  • Feature video sent to email lists and shared on social media

How MonkeyPod Can Help

By planning out your emails and communications you can strike the right balance between your Asks and Non-Asks (i.e. feel good interactions).

MonkeyPod makes planning and tracking your emails simple. Try using these features to plan out your email lists, campaigns, and donor interactions:

  • Use the Search Relationships feature to create email lists based on past donations, sales, or other relevant financial information.
  • Use the Saved Searches feature to continuously scan and filter your donor list so you’re not emailing people who have already donated.
  • Use the Email List Segmentation feature to send emails to only those donors that didn’t open your last email. Or switch it up and send more targeted emails to only those donors that did open a previous campaign and are ready to be engaged.
  • Use the Subscriber History feature to see each donor’s history of opens and clicks for every email you send so you can decide when to personally reach out and reestablish contact if they go cold.
  • Use the Campaign Calendar View to plan and schedule your emails in advance.

The Bottom Line

Your donors care about your cause and want to help. That’s why they’ve supported you in the past. Just don’t get too focused on raising money and forget to build and maintain those relationships for the long-term.