Avoiding “Need Fatigue” in Non-Profit Communications


As a non-profit organization, how are you talking to potential donors? No matter how successful a non-profit organization is at meeting its mission, there’s always more to be done. Eradicating disease, reducing homelessness, providing mental and behavioral health services, rescuing animals, there are good people providing quality services to those in need. So let’s talk about need.

I've worked with nonprofits for more than 15 years. And traditionally, cultivating donors has involved educating people about a problem and what can be done to solve it. If individuals understand the issue and how they can make a difference they can be motivated to act. But some donors have developed what I call “need fatigue.” They hear so much from a non-profit about the tremendous needs of the population they serve, they may not see how their donation will have a significant impact. But turn that message around. Show donors the progress made, the number of people they’ve served, the positive impact your organization has made. Share the success stories.

Everyone wants to be part of a winning team. So communicate your “wins.” Equate your success to the donation. Make sure your donors know that their dollars will make a specific difference, help a defined number of people, meet identified goals. Focus more on what has been accomplished and less on the ever-growing needs of your organization.