Donor Fatigue: Its Impact and Circumvention

Today, we enjoy a flooded market. Now, more than ever people are bombarded by media incessantly; organizations have heightened competition and the result is a possible donor base, tirelessly trying to decipher who does what, how they do it better and why they should give money.

Each and every one of you understands this. You contemplate on these realities daily and identify solutions. However, there is one serious complication to a practitioners creative resolution: Donor Fatigue.

What is it?

According to Wikipedia, Donor Fatigue is a phenomenon in which people no longer give to charities, although they have in the past. There are many contributing factors, but “Appeal Frequency” is more often than not the difference between a donation or otherwise.

How Damaging Can Donor Fatigue Be?

In an ever-changing world, benefits are not without their issues. Technology shrinks gaps, turns every account or phone wielder into a social change leader, but you have to draw them in. And, you need to be careful in how often you approach them.

Commonly, organizations believe this is not the case. As presented in another blog post, specifically focused on email marketing, frequency is NEGATIVELY correlated to engagement. Moreover, take a friend who frequently posts to Facebook or Twitter, do their words continue to have equal or degrading value? Frequency is the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” and in this context, the “Boy Who Contributed to Another Organization”.

Remember: Statistically, 60%  of your donors will only donate 1 time, so quality over quantity matters.


1. Limit Your Asks

No matter how vital or noble your cause, your charm can quickly wear off if you continually keep your hand out. Limiting asks help ensure that your words are heard above the fray and produce.

2. Target Specific Donor Groups through segmentation

While your cause might have broad appeal, each donor is affected on a personal level. Thus, highly targeting constituents leads to an opportunity for continual giving. Caveat: put proper tracking in place to ensure that asks aren’t being received multiple times.

3. Focus on 1 or 2 Engaging Campaigns

Movember focuses on November. Charity:Water built their success on birthday campaigns. Solidifying 1 or 2 campaigns/events of which to thrust all of your efforts into will lead to more engaged constituency, increased revenue, and an attentive staff.

4. Utilize Monthly Giving for sustainability

Monthly or Recurring Giving provides an opportunity to continuously receive, but not ask for donations throughout the year. Data shows individuals are more likely to opt-in to recurring options due to its smaller increments. When compounded across multiple donors, it can become significant.

5. Prove Impact

While not directly related to donor fatigue, the ability to show your impact is a way to heighten donor retention and combat certain symptoms of donor fatigue. Moving forward this will be vital as millennial’s list “visible impact” as a necessity for charitable gifts.




Leave a Comment


Request a Demo Today

See how a modern fundraising solution can grow revenue year after year!