Don’t Limit Your Donors

Don't limit your donors.

Thought you’d like to see some advice that Jonathan Steck shared recently around the ol’ Better Fundraising water cooler. 

We serve a bunch of organizations who – perhaps like people at your organization – are worried about the increased amount of fundraising they plan to send out during the last few weeks of the year.

Jonathan is our Creative Director, and he sent the following email to our team:

Hey gang,

We’re getting a handful of clients lately who are pushing back on the amount of fundraising content we’re recommending be sent at this time of year. 

This is not unusual. 

I mentioned this in our traffic meeting yesterday, but one of the better responses you can provide clients who are concerned with volume at year-end is this:

We shouldn’t decide when the donor gives, or how they should spend their money.  Let the donor make that decision.  

The moment we (as fundraisers) stop sending appeals, we immediately limit a donor’s opportunity to give.  Organizations think they are being considerate of their donors, but they’re really robbing them of the chance to make a difference in the world.  

So, if the objection comes up, just encourage your clients not to cancel their year-end content.  Let the donor make the decision to give or not.  

Happy fundraising! 

I love this.  It treats donors like adults.

Don’t let fear set your boundaries for how much fundraising you do in the next few weeks.  (Or ever, for that matter!)

Quick Example

And here’s a quick example for you.  Jonathan and I just got out of a meeting with a nonprofit who followed our advice.  They just completed a campaign where they sent 18 emails in 18 days. 

They are thrilled with how much money they raised.  They raised 60% more than they did last year.  And they didn’t see any of the negative consequences that some of their staff feared: no mass amounts of unsubscribes, no angry calls from major donors. 

Just money coming in, day after day for 18 days.  Money they can use to do more of their mission.

Our Job as Fundraisers

Our job as Fundraisers is to be “sold out” for our beneficiaries or cause – and NOT to limit how much or how often a donor can give.

If you’re thinking it won’t work for your donors, or that your donors are special for some reason, read this.

This year-end, use optimism as a tool

And as Jonathan says, Happy Fundraising!


Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

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