Eleven Reasons Donors Stop Responding To Fundraising Letter Appeals
Donors will stop responding to your fundraising letter appeals for many reasons. Some of which you can manage, but many of which you cannot. Use these findings to retain as many of your donors as you can.
1. They forget
I suppose you could call this a case of É?poor institutional memory.É? Donors simply forget your institution. They read your letter, decide to give, put your letter down somewhere, and then forget to mail you their gift.
2. They get distracted
Some stop sending gifts because they get sidetracked by other priorities, such as the arrival of children, or grandchildren. Or a hurricane hits their home. Or mum gets diagnosed with breast cancer.
3. They lose interest
Perhaps through a fault of yours (youߣve strayed from your mission, perhaps), but also perhaps because their interests change, some donors stop their support because your mission no longer excites them.
4. They suffer financially
In some families, the breadwinner loses his job, and the first thing to be cut is discretionary spending, such as take out food, movies and charitable gifts.
5. They die
You have no control over this one, or shouldnߣt have. A percentage of your donors will pass away each year, and their gifts in the mail will cease the same day they do. Thatߣs why you are wise to invite your older donors to include you in their wills.
6. You mail them too often
Some donors grow weary if they receive too many solicitations in any year. A letter each month might be too many for some. One a quarter might be too many for others. Either way, they stop giving because they feel you are hounding them for their money.
7. You donߣt mail often enough
Other donors fall away because you are never on their radar screen. Your letters arrive so infrequently, or so unpredictably, that you never make a lasting impression in their mindsߞ-or wallets.
8. You donߣt listen
The donor made a complaint or a suggestion, and then decided that your organization did not respond properly. So they took their gifts elsewhere.
9. You treat them like a stranger
How many times would you need to receive a letter addressing you as É?Dear FriendÉ? before concluding that the organization was interested in your money and not in you?
10. They feel unappreciated
Donors like to feel appreciated, and like to know that their donations are being used to good ends. If your thank-you letters arrive late, or never at all, some donors will start giving to other organizations that show their appreciation.
11. You make them mad
Some donors will decide they do not like your new executive directorߣs hairstyle. Or your new logo. There is something you can do to retain donors like this. But I donߣt know what it is.
About the author
Alan Sharpe is a professional fundraising letter writer who helps non-profits raise funds, build relationships and retain loyal donors using creative fundraising letters. Learn more about his services, view free sample fundraising letters, and sign up for free weekly tips like this at http://www.fundraisingletters.org.
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