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Donor Participation Project

Why Education is Key: Pausing Solicitations to Build Trust

Nonprofits often get caught in a cycle of continually soliciting donors to meet fundraising goals and metrics. While donor participation and revenue are critical, an overemphasis on solicitation can damage donor trust and engagement over the long run.

Pausing solicitations periodically to focus on donor education is key to building sustainable donor relationships.

According to fundraising experts, donor trust is the foundation of a successful giving program. However, donors today are bombarded with messages from countless organizations and causes. To break through the noise, nonprofits need to demonstrate how donor dollars are making an impact before asking for another gift. Giving donors a chance to understand your mission and programs better through tailored communications helps to build that trust.

Rather than scheduling back-to-back fundraising campaigns, nonprofit fundraisers should plan intentional ” rest periods” where solicitations pause for 1-2 months. During this time, communicate with donors through newsletters, social media, and your website to highlight recent wins and share stories of changed lives.

Explain your programs, events, partnerships, and upcoming priorities. Help donors see exactly how their gifts are transforming communities. 

When solicitations resume, donors will feel re-engaged and motivated to give again. They see the difference their support is making because you have taken the time to show as well as tell them. While counterintuitive, pausing solicitations can actually lead to improved donor participation and higher gift amounts over the long run. In a crowded and noisy fundraising environment, education and engagement are what set nonprofits apart and build lasting donor trust. The key is balancing solicitation with storytelling to achieve the most impact. Nonprofits that master this balance will thrive.

This approach requires patience but can transform how donors view and support your mission. As fundraisers, we must remember that people give to people and causes they believe in.

View the full recording of this session in our Resource Library.

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