Donor Fatigue: The Struggle of Small Charities to Sustain Support


Donor fatigue, a prevalent challenge faced by small charities, poses a significant obstacle in their mission to bring about positive change. As the charitable landscape becomes increasingly crowded, potential donors are inundated with numerous donation requests and appeals from various causes. This saturation of appeals can lead to donor fatigue, wherein individuals feel overwhelmed, desensitised, and less inclined to contribute. For small charities, which heavily rely on the generosity of donors to achieve their goals, navigating this issue is crucial for their continued success. In this article, we explore the impact of donor fatigue on small charities and discuss strategies to combat this challenge.

The Impact of Donor Fatigue:

  1. Declining Donor Engagement: As potential donors receive multiple requests for contributions, they may become fatigued and less likely to respond to subsequent appeals. This decline in donor engagement can severely affect small charities’ fundraising efforts and hinder their ability to sustain support for their causes.
  2. Reduced Donations: Donor fatigue often translates into reduced donations, as individuals may decide to withhold or reduce their financial contributions. This decrease in funding can be detrimental to small charities, hindering their ability to carry out essential programmes and initiatives.
  3. Difficulty in Acquiring New Donors: Donor fatigue can also extend to potential new donors, making it challenging for small charities to attract and retain fresh supporters. This further exacerbates the struggle to expand their donor base and increase overall fundraising.

Strategies to Combat Donor Fatigue:

  1. Cultivate Personalised Relationships: Small charities must prioritise building meaningful connections with donors. By tailoring communications and expressing genuine gratitude, they can create a more personalised donor experience, fostering a sense of appreciation and loyalty.
  2. Share Impactful Stories: Emphasising the positive impact of past donations can be a powerful tool in combating donor fatigue. Sharing real-life success stories and concrete examples of how donations have made a difference can rekindle donors’ passion and remind them of the significance of their contributions.
  3. Diversify Fundraising Efforts: Relying solely on repetitive donation appeals can contribute to donor fatigue. Instead, small charities should explore diverse fundraising approaches such as events, crowdfunding campaigns, and corporate partnerships to keep their fundraising efforts fresh and engaging.
  4. Provide Regular Updates: Keeping donors informed about the charity’s achievements, progress, and challenges is crucial. Regular updates via newsletters, social media, or personalised emails can help donors stay connected and invested in the charity’s mission.
  5. Engage in Donor Stewardship: Adopting effective donor stewardship practices is essential for small charities. This involves acknowledging every donation promptly, expressing gratitude, and recognising donor contributions to cultivate a sense of partnership and appreciation.
  6. Collaborate with Other Charities: Partnering with like-minded charities on joint fundraising initiatives can provide a fresh approach to donor outreach. This collaborative effort can attract new supporters and create a sense of unity within the charitable community.


Donor fatigue poses a considerable challenge for small charities striving to create a positive impact. To overcome this hurdle, they must adopt creative strategies that prioritise personalised donor engagement, storytelling, and diversified fundraising efforts. By nurturing meaningful relationships with their supporters and showcasing the tangible results of their contributions, small charities can inspire renewed interest and combat donor fatigue. Additionally, fostering a sense of appreciation and belonging within the donor community will help ensure the sustainability and success of their vital missions.

Donor Fatigue: The Struggle of Small Charities to Sustain Support

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