Wed, January 27 2010

How fast do donors lose interest in Haiti?

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

Fast. Not as fast as some other massive humanitarian emergencies, but fast.  It’s always that way with crises.

Here is Network for Good’s data:

Haiti giving

The Internet and mobile are ideally matched to charitable giving at times of disaster, when technology can turn the impulse to help into a donation within seconds.  But disaster giving online follows a “fast but fleeting” pattern. The
impulse effect typically spikes and drops within a short week-long timeframe.  And so it has been with Haiti.

It’s not news that attention spans are short or that interest in an issue declines with media coverage (both traditional and social).  Once something is off the headlines, it fades out of mind.

So what does a charity working in Haiti do? 

1. When attention is on the crisis and impulse is at a high, ask for a recurring gift - a monthly, automatic credit card donation.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving over the long months of recovery, even when it’s not top of mind. 

2. Thank the donors that gave often and report on the life-saving results of their dollars.  Donors lose interest when nonprofits do a lousy job showing the difference they’ve made.

3. Consider an anniversary campaign. Six months out or one year later, check in and thank your donors profusely.  Tell great stories about their impact.  Then ask them to consider a gift to rebuild.

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