Charity Fatigue?

14 May



The fallout continues from the actions of the two JackHoles that ruined the Boston Marathon for thousands on April 15.

There are things you can control, and things you cannot – like Mother Nature and JackHoles who have the will and find a way to be selfish.  The Boston Globe had an article that fundraising events with large gatherings, like walkathons, are suffering financially since people are shy about being in a crowd of people.  And, these participants may raise less money since they may have already given to another, more trendy, cause. Our 24/7 news cycles have helped contribute to Charity Fatigue.


I had a similar experience happen when I was a Walk Manager for an event happening 3 weeks after the September 11 tragedy in 2001.  Many teams cancelled their participation and many calls were coming in asking how we were going to make sure that 40,000 people would be safe at our event.   We were concerned about making our fundraising goal by thinking that our participants would instead give their charitable dollars to The Red Cross to support the 9/11 victims.

We worked with the City and State to make sure we had a beefed-up emergency plan.  It did not change much from our previous emergency plan, except it cost us several thousand more in police detail.

Because we had good relationships with our team leaders in the months prior to September 11, most of the team fundraising was done.  If the walkers did not want to attend the actual event, they could still send in the donations.  Remember, people will attend your walk because they have an interest in your issue and want to support your organization.  These are the folks that support you before and after a tragedy.   They may give a little less one year and a lot more the next.  I write a lot about the relationship you need to have with your walkers and donors, because you need the relationship to keep your organization afloat when a trendy cause temporarily receives some of their charitable giving budget.

In 2001, we took a small hit financially at the event.  Not as big as we thought. Thankfully.  The frequent communication with our team leaders helped to keep us “top of mind” despite all the other fundraisers happening to support the 9/11 victims.  The following year, we had an increase in participants.  I think many of them missed being part of the event community at the 2001 Walk.  They missed being part of the thousands who came together to support the cause they believed in.  It seemed like they were tired of “The Fatigue” and wanted to get back to their normal.

I look forward to everyone getting back to their normal.


why should donors choose you?

why should donors choose you?






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