What Your Fundraising Efforts Tell Donors

A donor can only take so much.

That’s why I asked certain nonprofits to stop fundraising. The situation improved somewhat … until now. So far this year I have received monthly solicitations from one nonprofit, along with other fundraising mailers from a similar organization who either purchased or shared that nonprofit’s donor list.

I understand and respect nonprofits need to raise money on an ongoing basis to support their work. But when their fundraising continues on auto-pilot, it shows a lack of respect for donors.

Your organization may craft different mission-focused messages in multiple fundraising requests, but here’s how your constant solicitation can be perceived by a donor:

  • I feel like my contribution isn’t valued when you keep asking me for money all the time.
  • Maybe you should spend more effort on doing good work instead of continuously soliciting me for donations.
  • You might be earning additional revenue by selling your donor list, but I’m getting fed up with receiving requests from similar organizations.
  • I was happy to support your organization until you started treating me like an ATM.

Take a step back and view your fundraising efforts from a donor’s perspective. What message(s) are you sending to them in your ongoing solicitation?







  • Kathy September 22, 2015 Reply

    Excellent points – Not-for-profits need to take their brand reputation as seriously as for-profits, and they definitely need to respect donors perhaps even more than commercial customers.

  • Dennis Fischman June 18, 2015 Reply

    Sybil, I agree…and let me add the flip side. Nonprofits should replace some of that fundraising with communications. Suppose instead of those monthly asks, you got 8 messages about how your donations made life better for a specific person, different each time. I’ll bet you’d be HAPPY to be asked for money at least twice, and maybe more!

    • sybil June 18, 2015 Reply

      Agreed, Dennis. As long as most of those messages were purely informational and were not repetitive solicitations.

  • Penny Kornet May 26, 2015 Reply

    I like one non-profit that offered me an option to charge $5.00 per month on my credit card since this was more “budget friendly”. Since then, they wisely have not solicited any further donation.
    I have heard that some non-profits hire marketing companies to solicit in their behalf. These marketing companies may take 50 percent or more of donated dollars. I don’t agree with this practice even if the nonprofit brings in more dollars for their own uses just as I don’t like non profits that pay their CEO millions of dollars in compensation

    • sybil May 26, 2015 Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Penny. The good news is there are reputable professional fundraising organizations that help nonprofits without charging them exorbitant fees.

Leave a Reply