Donor Fatigue, does it really exist?

3 questions answered from Catholic leaders running apostolates

One of the saddest things I experienced about the pandemic was watching apostolates put the breaks on their mission.

I really enjoy helping Catholics fundraise, but it was heartbreaking to watch them stop everything.

Have you stopped, too?

I hope not. Today, I’m fielding questions that Catholics like you have asked me about fundraising.

Should you plan any events?

What to do about donor fatigue?

Which new ways should you start fundraising?

That’s what this week’s article is all about. You can check out my answers here:

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Question: Which saint, Catholic document, or Church teaching has given you great advice on how to raise funds? Please leave your comment below.

Transcript

Today I’m fielding three questions that I’ve received recently about fundraising, that have to do with events, donor fatigue, and, if you’re starting out and looking for new ideas, where should you turn?

Hi, I’m Brice Sokolowski, founder of CatholicFundraiser.net, answering your questions about fundraising in the Catholic context. Before we dive into these questions (and I take questions from people every week), let me also encourage you to enter your own questions on my website, where you will also be able to download my absolutely free guide, The 10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising.

The 10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising has been downloaded by tens of thousands of Catholics whose overall consensus is two thumbs up. They love it. And on top of that, when you join, you can ask me a question and get the chance that I will answer it right here on the podcast. I usually reply by email as well to people and answer them directly. So make sure that you please download for free, my guide to increasing donations, The 10 Commandments of Fundraising.

So let’s dive into our three questions this week.

Question number one is, What to do when you just have a few events, but nothing really structured around your fundraising. I’m glad to be asked this question, especially with what’s going on around us right now. At this moment, we’ve got the pandemic and we can’t meet in person. And so this is a great time to rethink if events fundraising is, in fact, always the best thing to do. I know that might sound like a novelty, and maybe it’s the first time you’ve heard it, but a lot of fundraisers, a lot of very good fundraisers, may not be the right solution. I actually don’t like events when it comes to fundraising. I like such events when it comes to, you know, organizing, bringing the community together and bringing people together to learn about the mission. So there’s nothing wrong with those, but as something designed specifically around what we can ask for donations? Then, it’s not always the best thing to do. Look at what’s been happening now that we can’t meet. So if you were hoping to fundraise with events, you really can’t do that, anyways. And you know, you have so many other things that can go against you, like the weather and conflicting events. There are just so many things outside of your control where, if you’re focusing on what you know, a few events throughout the year to fundraise is probably not the best thing to do. So my recommendation is, think about other things to do with fundraising (I get to that in one of the other questions). So step number one here is to answer the first question: reconsider events. If you can’t do events, it’s probably a good thing and will make you look at other ways to attract donors. I will be answering that next.

The second question is, what to do about donor fatigue? I say that donor fatigue is a myth. It’s an absolute myth. It doesn’t exist if you’re doing your job well and even then, it’s not necessarily the fundraiser doing their job very well. It’s the apostolate that’s doing its job, which includes doing a really good job of communicating what you’re doing. Spreading the message, informing people. If you continue doing something incredible, as I assume, your apostolate is doing, then you’re doing God’s will. You’re doing what God has asked you to do. There should be no reason for donor fatigue, because God is always going to be nudging you to do more and so donor fatigue only really exists in your own mind. Probably because you’ve just been asking and asking and asking, and you feel like, oh, boy, I think I’m really pushing it too much. Because you really haven’t balanced all your other communications. If you join one of my programs on Catholic fundraising, I can walk you through how to communicate more effectively with your supporters. So you don’t create that donor fatigue. Because donor fatigue can only come from you. It doesn’t come from other people. There’s donor boredom, where people are like, ‘Well, I don’t really like this apostolate,’ so they leave. That’s not fatigue. So you can’t assume that you can ask too much or that there’s a finite amount of generosity out there. It just doesn’t exist. Read through an article that I published probably a little over a year and a half ago on this very topic. I did the research and overall, donor fatigue doesn’t exist. You don’t need to worry about it because it doesn’t exist except in your own mind. Because you’re probably not approaching fundraising the correct way, which is through balancing your communications. So that’s my advice to question number two.

Question number three, which connects to question number one, is this whole concept of events and trying to find new fresh approaches to an annual fundraiser. In reality, you should be fundraising year-round. Now, that is a loaded phrase, and it doesn’t mean asking everybody all the time. Then you might create what is the myth of donor fatigue, where it’s people getting bored of hearing you ask. That’s the reality. But you should be looking at finding different, innovative ways of asking for donations. For example, you can just meet people one-on-one. I know it takes time. You can call people (I know that takes time as well). You can learn to use your website more. You can learn how to use social media more. You should learn how to communicate with people and connect with them. That’s what I would say is a new and fresh approach. I don’t think enough apostolates are taking this idea of communicating with people seriously enough, especially when it comes to the Internet. There’s a whole lot of things that you can begin doing: email posts, blogging, vlogging, pod podcasts, communicating with people. The “fresh approach” is learning how to communicate in the 21st century, in the new evangelization. If you want more about that, I highly recommend that you download my guide, The 10 Commandments of Fundraising, and I will walk you through the 10 things that I think you should be doing. I find it quite innovative because they’re not that difficult to implement, and they’re very, very successful. So with that said, I hope you enjoyed this podcast and please, share the video with a friend. If you have a question, go to my website, CatholicFundraiser.net and download the free guide, while taking the opportunity to ask me your fundraising question. God love you and I will speak to you next week.

Want to fundraise more for your Catholic apostolate?

Make sure to get your free copy of ‘The 10 Commandment of Catholic Fundraising’. It’s a book that highlights the ten tasks you should do to keep you focused on your mission and hit your fundraising target, every time.

Click here to subscribe

Brice was born and raised Catholic. After enjoying a successful career in technology consulting with Accenture and PriceWaterhouseCoopers in cities across the United States (Dallas, San Francisco, Paris, Abu Dhabi, and London) around the world, he left it to help his Catholic diocese in London, England with a fundraising campaign. The campaign went on to raise over $60 million, the largest sum ever raised for the diocese and in the United Kingdom.

Learning from professional fundraisers, he figured out the basics and then left the diocese to focus on what he loves most: building Catholic charities that change the culture, save lives, and save souls.

Brice currently lives in Texas and travels the world helping Catholics fundraise. This website is where he shares what he is doing and how he is raising funds for Catholic causes and missions. That way you can move more quickly with your next appeal.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Mother Mary and Saint Joseph, protect us as we announce the good news of God's beloved Son, Jesus Christ.