Why I Feel Donor Remorse and How You Can Fix it

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

remorseI donate.
Not because fundraising is my business but, rather, because it’s part of “who I am”. It’s part of my religion. And, it’s part of my upbringing. It’s something I just do.
Not a lot. I’m not a major donor. The biggest check I wrote this year was $1,000. Mostly I like to give small amounts (by my measure) to lots of organizations.
Thanks to my habit, practice, tradition, routine or whatever else you want to call it… I get to see how lots of organizations treat their donors (including me). And, sadly, I think that treatment is pretty poor— leading to “donor remorse”.
Donor remorse is really very similar to buyer’s remorse. It’s a feeling of regret after having made a purchase (or, in the case of fundraising, a donation).
Why do I feel donor remorse?

  1. Because the “thank you” I got was disingenuous, mass-generated, and downright cold
  2. Because the organization never told me what they did with my money and if they did, it included facts and figures absent any emotion or a simple, powerful story
  3. Because the organization didn’t offer me an opportunity to engage with their mission in a meaningful way
  4. And most of all, because they asked me for more money several times after my gift without doing 1 thru 3 above

How can you fix donor remorse? With “3-to-1 Fundraising!” If you missed the post about that, check it out here.

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Becky Carter
Becky Carter
8 years ago

Another GREAT one!

Becky Carter
Becky Carter
8 years ago

Another GREAT one!


[…] For first-time donors, a prompt and personal thank-you helps reassure them. It makes them think, “Yes, I did the right thing,”—and wards off donor remorse. […]

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