How Much Asking is Too Much?
So here are four ways to prevent donor burnout by increasing your relevance in their lives:
1. Pay attention to your data. Rather than letting your hunches and fears guide your fundraising, rely on facts. Let donor behavior be your guide. Fine-tune your segmentation to reduce mail sent to those unlikely to respond. Consider a predictive modeling solution to help you send the right stuff to the right donors at the right times.
2. Acknowledge gifts — promptly. The fast track to becoming irrelevant in a donor’s world is to fail to acknowledge her gift — or to take so long doing so she no longer remembers giving. The message you send when you don’t acknowledge donor gifts is loud and clear: “Your gift was irrelevant to us.” And irrelevance is reciprocal.
3. Report back. When a donor gives to your organization, does she find out specifically what impact her giving makes? If not, you have little chance of becoming a meaningful part of her life. Thank-you letters, newsletters and other forms of reporting back make all the difference. They can dramatically increase your revenue and file health.
4. Offer choices. Giving donors control over how they’ll hear from you, when and about what can really cement the relationship. It’s simple: Specifically ask them what they want — then do it. The funny thing is, while only a small minority (5 percent to 10 percent) exercise any choice at all, the very fact that you offer choice leads to longer retention and more giving.
Yes, donor burnout is a dangerous thing — but not in the way most fundraisers think. The real damage done to nonprofits is when they surrender to it without proof that it even exists. They don’t ask, so they don’t receive. Donor burnout is a self-fulfilling fear. FS