Your Year-End Appeal Plan of Action
With the end of 2021 a mere six months away, now is the time to map out your plan to execute your most successful year-end giving efforts to date. And as is the case for any successful outcome, there are several key pieces to a fundraising campaign.
Network for Good offers these seven steps to keep you on track to reaching your goals:
- Figure out what you are trying to do and do it with laser focus. Sending out a general letter to your donor base is not a best practice. It is important to know who your donors are and segment your communications. This includes your direct mail piece and all of your e-communications.
- Tell a great story. Once you know who you are going to connect with, what heartfelt story will you be sharing with those individuals? Donors give when a story captivates them.
- Determine which tools to use. Back in the day, you had one way to connect with donors: through a mailed letter. Now, there are various digital tools to make that connection ranging from e-newsletters to social media to video. Where does your audience spend time?
- Resources. One key misstep is having a website filled with inaccuracies or broken links. It is imperative that this ‘digital front door’ be interesting and functional. It also should have an easy-to-find entry into making a donation.
- The team. Determine who will oversee all the efforts of your year end campaign activities. This will be your fundraising staff but it will include the engagement of your leadership as well, especially with your digital communications.
- The timeline. Another missed piece of a successful year end fundraising campaign is setting up a calendar of activities to strategically execute all of the tasks in order to meet the target goal. Reverse engineer from your last activity date in order to figure out your start time.
- Evaluation. In order to understand how successful your efforts were, it is important to take some time to reflect on how things went so you can understand your lessons learned and potential improvements for next year.
You can also have a little fun with unique ideas such as these:
- Special thank you videos from your staff, board, and program participants add a personal touch of appreciation. The content can be used on your e-newsletter, social media, and your website.
- Ask your board of directors to do a thank-a-thon phone call effort in October or December to call major donors. It is a great way to get your leadership involved with fundraising!
- Send a general update communication to your donors a few months before the end of the year to say thank you and provide an update on your nonprofit’s efforts over the past year.
- Ask donors to come on board as fundraising ambassadors by giving them the tools to share out on their social media about ways their friends and family can give back. You can also encourage them to look into employer matching programs at their jobs.
- Ask one of your favorite restaurants to host a holiday cocktail hour with portions of the proceeds being donated to your nonprofit.
- Ask your corporate partners to also share the good word about supporting your nonprofit on their company communications. The business can also do a special year-end drive for items appropriate for your program participants.
- Spotlight your volunteers on social media and other e-communications by sharing their stories behind becoming involved with your organization.
Many nonprofits received about half of their donor dollars at the end of the year and it is an excellent opportunity to also thank those who dedicate time and money to support your mission. With ample planning and clever approaches, you can help your nonprofit stand out and meet your fundraising goals.