What happens to donors when you leave them alone

We’re in that time of the year when most of us do a lot of fundraising. And that’s smart, because it’s the time of year when donors are likely to donate.

Then January rolls around.

Many organizations think that means it’s time to shut the heck up! To give your donors a “rest” from all that communication.

So they go incommunicado for a month. Or two. Or three. Or more.

You might feel you’re doing a service by not bugging them.

What you’re really doing is telling them nothing is happening and they aren’t needed. Your silence isn’t appreciated. It isn’t even noticed. You and the good work you do just fade off their radar.

As The Better Fundraising Blog, says, Never Go Dark on your valued donors.

It’s a quick path to worse donor attrition.

Like a good friend, when you show up in your donors’ lives, talk about your donors and not about your organization. Show up and tell donors what’s happening with the … cause that they care about. Show up and “report back” to donors the amazing things their gift has made possible through your organization.

Testing by many organizations makes it clear: Going dark on donors does one thing: it increases donor attrition.

You don’t get brownie points for not communicating. No more than you do in your real human relationships.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.