Fundraising Q/A: What inspires donors to increase, reduce or end their support?

Good question! Fundraising isn’t just about making that first ask, as we’ve said many a time. Your goal is to build a long and mutually satisfying relationship, but it is a moving target.

An increase in support will reflect the donor’s continuing or strengthened belief in the importance of your mission, and your ability to deliver on it. Keeping the donor engaged and informed about the work you are doing is essential.

A reduction in support may simply be due to the donor’s changing economic situation. But more often than not, it’s a signal that something has gone wrong. Do they feel you’re not being faithful to your mission? Are they disappointed in the impact that your organization or their gift is having? Do they have concerns about management? Do they feel they haven’t been treated right? Almost anything can be a trigger.

An ending of support may be the result of an accumulation of wrongs. However, it also may mean that their priorities have shifted or they have become involved in some other, new cause. There’s not much you can do there, except be watchful, and make sure you don’t become over reliant on your existing donors, especially a major one. You can’t count on any donor forever, so make sure you are building a pipeline of prospects.

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