I love living in a democracy like the United States. But we were getting so many political fundraising letters, phone calls, and emails as Election Day drew near that I was seriously contemplating the benefits of monarchy!
I’ve never liked political fundraising or crisis appeals. As November 2nd approached, I cynically began to wonder if the political organizations were actually raising money to fund themselves for the next four years.
We all know that statistics consistently say the person most likely to make a gift is the person that just gave. So we dutifully ask the most recent givers to give again. That’s fine. But when is enough enough? How often can we keep going back to the same well? When do donors start getting tired of hearing from us?
Well one of the political groups I liked, but was liking a lot less, sent out a thank you email on November 17th. Near the end of the message, they dealt head-on with the issue of donor fatigue:
“Because we had such a rich stockpile of outstanding candidates running for the House and the Senate this year, we asked you for money again and again and again over the past six months. We’re sure that many of you suffered from donor fatigue — and we don’t blame you.”
They went on to illustrate how our support was helping significantly change our world. I’m glad I read through the message! My opinion of this group was drastically restored.
Don’t you think our donors might feel a bit of “donor fatigue” at the end of special projects and capital campaigns? What if you directly dealt with it?
“This project was so crucial to the future of our organization that, yes, we know we’ve probably asked you for money more than you’d like. You’re probably a little gun-shy about opening our mail. We don’t blame you. But look at the impact this is already having on the people we serve.”
You may just soothe some weary donors.
I’m convinced we learn more from our mistakes than from our successes. What have you learned in your time of asking? You can email me your funniest mistakes at: email@example.com.