Does Donor Fatigue Increase With Technology?

Donor fatigue has been, and probably always will be, a recurring problem that nonprofits face on a daily basis.  Once someone has donated to your cause and expressed interest in helping you, how do you make sure they continue to want to contribute and don’t get distracted by the next big thing?

donor fatigue

The crisis in Haiti is a perfect example of a donor trend. With Wyclef Jean, George Clooney and other big names asking everyone to participate, it’s become hip to aid the relief effort.  However, that was essentially the same exact thing that happened with Hurricane Katrina–thanks to Brad Pitt, Mike Myers (and maybe even Kanye West), all people could talk about in the months that followed was how much help was needed in New Orleans and all the cool things people were doing to help.  Here we are almost 5 years later and guess what?  New Orleans and its residents have far from recovered, but once interest waned, so too did press coverage, fundraisers and donations.

Network For Good’s Katya Andresen addressed this exact issue on her blog yesterday with an interesting twist: technology has made impulse giving as easy as can be, but these donors aren’t likely to be truly committed to the cause and you may never hear from them again.  She offers 3 excellent suggestions to help keep your supporters involved if donating to your cause becomes a trend of sorts:

  1. Ask for a recurring gift: Take advantage of the coverage your issue is receiving and ask people to automatically donate monthly through their credit card.
  2. Make it personal: Remind givers exactly where their money goes and what it’s doing to help.  As a donor, there’s nothing worse than feeling as though you aren’t making a difference.
  3. Mark the Anniversaries: Anniversaries are a fabulous time to remind people what they gave, what their donation did, and what’s left to be done.  Remind your givers that your work isn’t over and neither is theirs.

I have to agree that technology could very well lead to an increase in one-time donors.  With a simple text message, someone can even make a donation through their phone bill, and I’ve seen numerous emails, text messages and Facebook posts of people sharing that they did just that.  However, how many of those people will actually become truly committed to the cause is up to the nonprofit.

Are you being proactive enough to reduce donor fatigue?

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