Anyone who works in fundraising is familiar with the concept of donor fatigue—a situation that develops when donors stop giving to a cause they previously supported. Donor fatigue can cripple an organization whose operations depend upon benefactor generosity.

What causes donors to stop giving? Did they lose interest in the cause? Are they being inundated with requests? Do they no longer have funds available to donate?

All those reasons are viable possibilities. Part of working in fundraising is figuring out the reason for donors disengaging and then developing a plan to counter that disengagement. This approach requires fundraisers to become invested in their investors.

Fundraisers must consider what they did, or perhaps failed to do, that facilitated their donor’s disengagement. Did they take their donor’s generosity for granted? Did they fail to recognize their donor’s generosity? Did they allow their donor’s emotional connection to the cause to go stale?

People are generally the most committed to causes where they have an emotional connection. Someone who lost a loved one to cancer is more likely to donate to a cause related to cancer. The parent of a diabetic child is more likely to donate to a cause related to diabetes research. Alums who had memorable experiences are more likely to donate to their alma mater.

Emotional connection compels investment.

Good teammates will sometimes encounter their own version of donor fatigue. Only the issue isn’t from the fundraiser’s perspective; it’s from the donor’s perspective.

Having your kindness unrequited, your sacrifices unappreciated, or your loyalty unrewarded can wear you down and leave you feeling fatigued. You wonder if trying to be a good teammate is worth the hassle. Your efforts suddenly seem pointless and you begin to feel the urge to disengage.

If you find yourself in this position, the solution is to revisit your why. Ask yourself: “Why am I conveying kindness, making sacrifices, and showing loyalty?”

Something compelled your initial commitment. Whatever did so is your why—and just like the charity’s donors, you probably have an emotional connection to your why.

Donors, whether they be donors of financial support or donors of kindness, sacrifice, or loyalty, experience fatigue when they forget the reason behind their contribution: their belief in the cause. They need to periodically remind themselves why they believe in their team’s mission.

Good teammates don’t allow themselves to be discouraged by unrequited kindness, unappreciated sacrifices, or unrewarded loyalty because they are invested in their team’s mission. Good teammates are driven to be kind, make sacrifices, and be loyal because they believe those are the right choices to make.

If you’re making the right choices, don’t allow yourself to become fatigued. Revisit your why and keep fighting the good fight. Be aware, though, that not everyone on your team has the same level of insight as you and/or may not be as driven as you. Ward off those team members’ potential for experiencing donor fatigue by openly recognizing their kindness, sacrifices, and loyalty.

Doing so will be a revitalizing good teammate move on your part.

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

Lance Loya is the founder and CEO of the Good Teammate Factory. He is a college basketball coach turned author, blogger, and professional speaker, who inspires TEAMBUSTERS to become TEAMMATES. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or through his weekly Teammate Tuesday blog.

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