Donor fatigue — how to deal with it?

Many experts agree, Americans are simply tired of being asked for money.   

After the continual disaster in Haiti and the costly political-campaign season, Reuters reported that the UN was struggling against donor fatigue to provide aid to earthquake victims in Pakistan.    Riding out more than two years without a full economic recovery, donors are skittish and many ministries are hurting.   

So, how do you deal with fatigued donors?   

One way would be to treat them like you do when you are just plain tired.   

Give them a break.   Cut back on your impacts or quantities and tell them you’re doing it.   Otherwise they won’t appreciate what’s happening.   They’ll resonate with your conservative economic positioning.   

Feed them.   As Christians, we have a whole wealth of spiritually enriching resources, from Scripture to hundreds of very relevant Christian authors.   Find truth that applies to a donor’s life.    Pass it along as a pastor would share what one of his congregants needed most.   

Share some good, inspiring news.   Break down the cycle of fatigue and frustration with good news of what you’re accomplishing through donor generosity.   Share a story of a child or adult who went over and above what was expected to minister through your organization.   Help your donors feel privileged to be part of your cause.   

Energize them (make them feel rich).   Focus on all that God has given us, and not just material blessings.   Reinforce how we are blessed above so many others.   Then, instead of guilt, use the image of everyone doing their part in a praise offering to God.   

Fatigue requires rest, nourishment, inspiration and a dose of reality.   You can provide them all and rescue your most valued partners in ministry, creating growing numbers of Donors for Life®.   

Doug Clark

Senior Vice President Client Services