The most common causes of donor fatigue, and how to avoid them during a pandemic

As the Christmas appeal gets underway, donor fatigue is something charities can often control. Here are some of the most common causes of donor fatigue, and how your charity can avoid them to make this your most successful appeal to date.

Donor fatigue occurs when existing donors become slow to respond to a call to action or fail to donate at all.

In a time where many donors are reviewing their luxury spending, it’s more important than ever that charities work hard to keep their relationships with donors fresh and engaging.

As the Christmas appeal gets underway, donor fatigue is something charities can often control. Here are some of the most common causes of donor fatigue, and how your charity can avoid them to make this your most successful appeal to date.

Showing gratitude for previous gifts is one of the most effective ways to encourage someone to give again. Explain how past support has made a tangible difference and empower donors to give again.

Failing to acknowledge past gifts could make donors feel unappreciated and like their past support hasn’t been appreciated. Say thank you before you ask again and course, always send a personalised thank you with a tax receipt through the mail. Depending on your stewardship strategy, we recommend a phone call for higher-end donors to thank them personally.

Create engaging messaging

There’s no denying that the pandemic has been on everyone’s minds for the best part of this year. While it’s relevant to your operations and is likely to feature in your Christmas appeal, donors are hearing about coronavirus in every aspect of their life and might be starting to tune out. Choose a fresh and engaging testimonial and relate your message to the direct cause donors are supporting. Focus on how every dollar really does make a difference.

Maintain ongoing connection

Donors shouldn’t only hear from you when you’re asking them for money. Create a communication strategy that includes newsletters and email updates throughout the year. A donor shouldn’t see your name on the envelope and cower in fear that you’re going to ask them for financial support. They should be excited to open correspondence and look forward to ‘no strings attached’ updates from your cause. When you only contact people to ask for money, if they’re not in the position to give this time you risk them tuning out to your messaging and potentially not even opening the correspondence at all.

Share results

Donors want to know how their support has helped you. Regardless of whether someone donated to your most recent appeal or hasn’t given for a while, share, share, share the work that you’re able to do with thanks to your supporters. With programs such as SupporterHub and social media platforms that allow you to communicate free of charge, your donors should be left in no doubt how every dollar can and does help.

Implement a lapsed donor strategy

Rarely is a charity given the luxury of knowing when a donor has stopped giving, and why. A solid lapsed donor strategy is crucial to tracking donors and learning more about their needs. Analyse available data to identify donors who haven’t given in the past two years and contact them outside of the appeal with appropriate messaging that acknowledges they may be reconsidering their support. Treating donors appropriately builds the relationship and helps you get to know them on a deeper level.


There’s no denying this year has seen a lot of habits change. To find out how your donors have been impacted by the pandemic and how they feel about your charity, ask them! Attach a survey to an email and encourage supporters to give their honest feedback. If donations fall, it’s up to you to use the free or low-cost tools available to find out why.

SupporterHub is an integrated platform that helps charities get to know supporters to build better relationships and increase fundraising outcomes. To find out more about our FREE trial, click

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