6 Ways Nonprofits Can Overcome ‘Empathy Fatigue’

This has been a tough year. We’ve been flooded by news and images of refugees from the ongoing crisis in Syria, warned about the spread of Zika, frightened and saddened by terrorist attacks and mass shootings and (barely) survived the seemingly never-ending presidential campaign and election.

As the negative news piles on, we become increasingly numb to it and less affected by tragedy. It may not be right or good, but it’s a fact. I recently heard Jeff Kositsky, director of San Francisco’s Department of Homelessness, call this “empathy fatigue.” Although he was speaking about the chronic issue of homelessness, the term applies more broadly. We’re unable to constantly operate in a hyper-affected state, and as we hear more and more bad news, it’s impossible for our empathy not to hit a ceiling.

So, what does this mean? Americans are hopeful, charitable and committed to advancing the causes they care about. In 2015, $373.25 billion was donated to charitable organizations (Giving USA), with 17.4% of all giving taking place in December (Blackbaud 2015 Charitable Giving Report). Clearly, end-of-year fundraising is important for nonprofits. But what can they do to overcome empathy fatigue and stand out among all the nonprofits clamoring for contributions? Below are a few suggestions from a communications perspective on how to keep donors engaged and feeling generous.

See 6 tips on how nonprofits can overcome ‘Empathy Fatigue’ on PR News.

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