03 Apr 2012

Ten top tips to help combat 'giving fatigue'

Woman in bed stretchingDonor fatigue, giver burnout, whatever you call it, it's something most fundraisers are bound to encounter at some point. It doesn't mean that people are less compassionate than before – it’s probably just that they're busy or they may be obliged to prioritise their spend more. But there are still things you can do to try to persuade supporters to help you and your cause - and help them to feel good about it too.

Here are a few ideas that we've seen work where all else has failed...

1. Make your donor feel special
We can't emphasise this enough, because it's the very first succeed or fail hurdle. Yours may be one of many requests that your potential donor receives, so if you know the person you're sending your request to then do make the effort to personalise your appeal.It's also a good idea to let people know you won't always be asking for help. Without saying anything as drastic as 'you'll never hear from me again,' you can tell them for example, 'this is the only event I'm doing this year.'

2. Demonstrate your passion
Show you really care about your cause by talking about its work and aims in your own words. Phrases like 'the need has never been greater’ turn up everywhere, so that people almost don't hear them anymore. Statistics are also sometimes tricky to relate to - so better to choose something tangible to describe your goal like 'we're halfway to buying our new school bus,' rather than 'we've already raised £5,000.'

3. What's it worth?
It can help to put a suggested amount in your request and tell people what that donation will be used for. A good tactic is also to put the donation amount in the giver's terms - for example, 'What would £5 buy you - a glossy magazine?' or '£20 - a round of drinks in a pub?' Choose something that's no hardship to give up!

As a fundraiser, you already know that using MyDonate is the best way for people to give because all the money they give goes direct to charity - it's worth reminding your donors about that too.

4. Find a role model
A guarantee of success is always attractive, so another powerful tactic is to report on what was made possible in a previous year thanks to someone's fundraising efforts. You could ask the charity you're supporting for examples that could help.

5. Prove your point
If you're fundraising for a cause that's doesn't already get a lot of attention, then you may need to educate donors about your cause before you can motivate them to take action. Your donors will appreciate a bit of reassurance that your cause is a credible one - so provide some signposts to more information to let them see for themselves.

6. Employ your supporters
Donors that buy into your request may do some of your work for you by sharing it amongst their own friends, family and networks. Help them by suggesting how they can best do this - whether it's via Twitter or Facebook, or any specific ways you think they can use (like work or social club noticeboards for example) that will help to get your message across.

7. The gift that keeps on giving
If you're asking someone you normally exchange birthday or Christmas gifts with, why not suggest to them that you take a donation for your fundraising instead of your next 'due' gift? Or even if you happen to be getting married.

8. The personal touch
Where possible, follow-up any request you make or donation pledge you receive with a personal contact by telephone or face to face - it’s always appreciated, and it will improve your chances if you do ask in future.

9. Stay connected
When your fundraising challenge is over you've every right to feel good. But don't sit back. People don't always want to be publicly acknowledged for their donation but they do like to see what happened as a result, so try to still spend some time and energy telling people about what you've achieved together.

10. The domino effect
Don't underestimate the value of awareness raising. It's worth reminding people that if they can't sponsor you or donate this time, there are other ways they can still help. For example, donors may be able to give their time to volunteer for your cause or to help you promote it. Depending on the charity, they may even be able to give blood, or just donate unwanted items.

Ok, these things may not always push your fundraising total up, but they will still be doing a huge amount of good for your cause - and the more people that are aware of it will ultimately lead to more donations.

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