19 easy ways to lose a supporter

19 easy ways to lose a supporter

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Nick Thomas is here with a simple guide to ensuring a quiet life, free of pesky donors.


Having lots of loyal supporters on your database may be the best way to raise money and ultimately fulfil your charitable mission, but I'm sure you'll agree, it is such hard work to keep the blighters engaged and giving. So here's a simple guide to putting them off - forever.


  1. Take forever to respond. Why respond in two days when you can take two weeks?
  3. Misspell their name. With such sloppy attention to detail they'll soon twig you're never going to succeed.
  5. Forget how they first gave. It shows you're not on the ball.
  7. Don't show the impact their donation has made, and refuse to feedback on any progress - keep reasons to be cheerful firmly under wraps.
  9. Be timid of showing real need. Need is passé.
  11. Never display urgency. If you don't look like you're in a hurry, they won't be in a rush to give. 
  13. Ask for more, after they've just given you more. Once they've opened their wallet, dive in again immediately. Relentless fundraising is key.
  15. Keep writing after they've said don't. Nothing says you're not listening quite as well.
  17. Make it all about you. Prattle on endlessly about the wonderful work you do, not the people you help. And never give the impression that the donor is in any way important.
  19. Never ask the donor anything. This will only serve to build an affinity with them.
  21. Make it all about jam today - not tomorrow. Visions are so overrated.
  23. Don't make them appreciate how cancelling their gift will have a detrimental effect. If donors believe this they will stick around like a bad smell.
  25. Don't tell them something they don't know. Most donors want to learn as they give, so keep copy as narrow and repetitive as possible.
  27. Use the same old jargon as every other charity. "You can make a difference" is wonderful in this regard.
  29. Put them in a box labelled 'cash bag' and ask for money every two minutes. After all, their children probably do that too.
  31. Keep sending irrelevant communications - a tried and tested way of upsetting busy people. If you know what they respond to or have an interest in, send the opposite.
  33. Use 'young speak' to older donors. Use the latest buzzwords and social media jibber jabber - it's hilarious seeing the lack of comprehension.
  35. Be careful not to fire them up. After all, if we don't show any passion for our cause, neither will they.
  37. Forget to say thank you. I can't stress this enough!


Nick Thomas is creative director at Campfire Marketing.

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