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Often, when fundraisers hear the term, “donor fatigue,” they think of it as simply the result of too many asks to their file. But, is that really all it takes to create donor fatigue? On Friday, Nonprofit Quarterly released an op-ed piece from one of their contributors, Simone Joyaux, discussing the other hidden causes of donor fatigue through her own personal anecdotes. Let’s take a look at two of her points that prove it’s not just about the ask.

1) Donors feeling “unknown” – Joyaux talks about how she gets mail from organizations she supports, addressed to “Simon,” when her name is “Simone.” That initially may not seem like the end of the world. It’s just one letter missing, right? But think about it from her perspective. How would you feel if an organization you supported sent you a letter with a different name on the envelope? I would think the organization doesn’t care enough about me to get my name right, OR that they don’t have good quality assurance processes within their organization. Now, this could have just as easily been Simone’s mistake when filling out a form and a letter got deleted by accident. That, we don’t know. But regardless, is your organization doing it’s due diligence to make sure things like this don’t happen to your donors? Are you taking the time to show them they are known and valued? When QA issues arise, how do you handle them with your donors? Do you give them personal phone calls, notes, etc.? When mistakes happen, how you handle those with your donors will set the tone for your relationship with them! Pursuant has partnered with a few of our clients to do a mass email send to their file (called a Direct Address Update), simply for an update on their info to avoid issues like this. The organization asks them to fill out their updated name (if there’s a change), address, phone number and email, so the organization can better serve them. This allows donors to help your organization update your info, as well as letting you know which way they prefer to be contacted.

2) Donors receiving information that doesn’t resonate with them – “Pay attention to me. Please.” During the 2012 election season, Joyaux received solicitations from a presidential candidate. She talks about how through her website, voting history and her speaking engagements, etc., anyone would know that she would not support this candidate. Not only was that offensive to her to receive that solicitation, but what a waste of money that was to send it to her! What research are you doing for your donors to get to know their interests, so you’re not wasting your precious resources? Are you just guessing about things they like? At Pursuant, we often create behavioral surveys for our clients, asking their donors what they’re interested in and not interested in. You’d be surprised at the response. We then use that data to speak to their interests in the solicitations, inviting them in on a personal level. We’ve seen a great turnaround for those donors when we talk to them about things they like. Take a look at what your organization is currently doing to get to know your donors. Is it enough? What can you do better?