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Many Donors Not Overwhelmed by Charity Communications

(July 14, 2009) Most donors don’t feel as if they are receiving too many communications from charities according to a new survey released recently at the Institute of Fundraising National Convention in London.

The survey, conducted by TW Cat, a UK-based direct marketing firm, interviewed 150 people about charity communication and how it affected their perceptions and giving.

Just 17 percent of respondents said that they were overwhelmed by the amount of charity communications they received. In contrast, 72 percent said the level of communications was “just enough,” while 11 percent said charities communicated with them “too rarely” and wanted to hear more from the organizations they supported.

“The perception we hear from the general media is that people receive too many charitable communications,” said Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP. “The study helps show that this perception is not always correct, although we need to be careful about differentiating between tried and true donors and the general public. Donors who are excited about a particular cause may feel they don’t receive enough information, while others may feel quite different about a communications from the same organizations.”

The survey also found that, on average, a charity had to send eight communications to a donor to receive at least two gifts. Eight out of ten donors gave at the same level for the duration of their support, and retention rates dropped drastically—86 percent to 59 percent—from the second to third year of a supporter’s relationship with a charity.

While the economy did not have a dramatic impact on most donors and their giving, 61 percent of interviewees said they were less likely to give to a new charity because of the current economy.

What is your sense of charity communications to donors? In the current economy, are you sending out more communications to existing and lapsed donors?  Send your thoughts to

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