Did Sandy flood out your year-end fundraising? The Wall Street Journal thinks is may have, based on a tiny number of interviews: Nonprofits Fear Donors Have Post-Sandy 'Ask' Fatigue. Yes, it's that old myth, "donor fatigue" -- this time covering for inept year-end fundraising strategies everywhere:
Donors poured $219 million into Sandy relief efforts in the three weeks after the Oct. 29 storm.... But the generosity for Sandy victims is hurting other charities during the holiday season, when they usually see a surge in donations.
Disaster giving has little or no impact on regular giving. That $219 million is almost entirely added generosity from donors and giving from people who don't usually donate.
Organizations with donors concentrated in areas directly impacted by the storm probably took a hit -- where large numbers of donors weren't at home, had no power, or weren't getting mail for some period.
Beyond that, donor fatigue isn't a real thing. Whenever you see that term, just replace it in your mind with "fundraiser fatigue," an excuse given when things aren't going well, or they get tired of talking about the same old subjects.
Our industry faces some actual challenges: Changing donor behavior as Boomers replace their elders in the donor market. Increased competition for every donor dollar. Lower levels of religious participation.
Periodic disasters are not part of the problem.
Thanks to Charity Navigator for the tip.