Fundraising,  Nonprofits

5 Ways to Avoid Donor Fatigue


Donor fatigue is an unfortunate, yet very common, situation that occurs when key contributors reduce or even stop supporting your cause. DON’T PANIC! It can be a challenge to engage burnt out donors. We’ve got 5 creative ways to help keep donor fatigue from derailing your fundraising efforts.

Space out your events

Schedule your events with enough time between them to give your donors some space. As committed to your cause as they are, it is likely that they are not financially able to give constantly.

When planning your next event look at the calendar and ensure it isn’t too far before or after another one that will be tapping the same folks. It’s a good rule of thumb to leave at least 4-6 months between events.  

Allowing ample time between events will be appreciated by your donors and leave them with a greater ability to contribute.

Increase Donor Recognition

Of course you appreciate all of your donors, but they don’t always feel that way. Take the time to recognize them and show them that they’re contributions and support are truly appreciated.

A column in your next newsletter highlighting key contributors is one nice way to recognize donors. Sending a personal thank you note or making a phone call directly will also go a long way.

Recognizing your donors will make them feel more emotionally attached and appreciated and could yield you a greater contribution next time.


Sharing as many details as possible with your donors is a must. Let them know exactly how their contribution will be used.

Include as many concrete facts in your appeal or invitation as possible. Most donors are interested in knowing what percentage of their donation goes to events/activities, advertising, office, etc. Sharing financial summaries, tax information and if applicable, salaries, is a good idea.

Being transparent with your contributors can have a big impact on their decision to if and how much to contribute to your cause.

Be Creative

Asking for a financial contribution can grow old. Look for a new call to action. There are plenty of out of the box ways you can ask donors to support your cause.

Here are few to get you started:

  • Rather than just writing you a check, you can request they offer a product or service for you to auction or re-sell thrift style.
  • Ask businesses to underwrite a part of your next event. For example, to be the coat check sponsor or to provide the dessert.  
  • Offer memberships to your organization that give members perks.

Donors are more likely to contribute to your cause if they see they will get some benefit from it as well.

Grow Your List

At some point, your donors will phase out for one reason or another. Creating a new pipeline of potential donors is essential to ensure that your cause continues to have the necessary support.

Consider hosting an event in which you ask key donors to attend AND bring a guest. Be sure you have a registration table set up to capture their contact information. A friendly follow-up after the event will begin planting the seeds needed to grow your donor list.

There are, of course, plenty of other ways to accomplish this. If your organization has a stewardship program, they can help with this. If you don’t have one — it may be time to consider creating one.  

Take a look at how, when and what you are asking of your donors and modify your strategy to raise sustainable funds for your organization.

Share with us how you avoid donor fatigue in the comments.


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