Prevent Donors from Getting Compassion Fatigue

September 19th, 2017 by

Non-profits need to make sure their donors are not wearing out.

Given the recent string of catastrophic events, amplified by nonstop media coverage, you certainly can’t fault people for beginning to feel compassion fatigue.

David Heitman, VP of communications at Wiland, has this to say:

After making personal or workplace donations to charities helping out in Texas, the Caribbean, Florida and elsewhere, it’s understandable that donors might begin to feel worn out—or perhaps even begin to wonder how much of a difference they are making.

At times like these, it’s important to remember and remind donors that every gift does matter—a lot—and that even as the needs seem to multiply, every dollar contributed will be translated into tangible relief for somebody affected by disaster.

It’s also good to recognize that after the initial rush of contributions, many nonprofits providing relief today will be in the business of long-term service to their constituencies. Disaster can strike in a moment. Recovery will be going on for years, long after the media has moved on to other stories.

At times like these, it’s important to acknowledge the potential for compassion fatigue, yet also to remind donors of four things:

  1. Don’t despair of being able to make a difference—every contribution, every volunteer effort, however large or small, helps someone in need.
  2. Resist compassion fatigue. Continuing to be generous, even when we start to feel tapped out emotionally and financially, is the right instinct.
  3. Maintain commitments to the charities you support. Even if you’ve dug a little deeper to help out during the recent disasters, maintaining your commitment to the nonprofits you support will keep them moving forward.
  4. See the bigger picture. After the initial flurry of heartfelt donations, it’s important to support organizations that are in it for the long haul.

It has become axiomatic that disasters bring out the best in people, whether that means getting out a boat and rescuing stranded survivors, or getting out the checkbook to enable charitable organizations to do their work. Someone once said that money is stored energy—the distillation of work performed by those who may not be able to serve in person, converted into a resource that fuels the work of those who can.

That’s a perspective that can combat compassion fatigue and inspire generous giving, long after the headlines have changed.

Non-profits who are looking to expand their database and increase their outreach need to consider this in their direct marketing campaigns

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