The Olympics are winding down, but now fundraisers are preparing for their own marathon! August is here and that means the countdown to your organization’s end of year campaign is on! Here’s a few things you organization can work on now to see increases in giving during the final months of the year. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
1. Acquire more emails to increase online giving
Email is becoming an increasingly important solicitation method, particularly during the final days of the year. For some constituents it may serve as your only means of communication with them, while for others on your direct mail list it may be a really great series of reminders to give.
Spend the next few weeks strategically planning how you can increase your email list both by acquiring emails of new constituents and encouraging your direct mail list members to subscriber to your email as well.
A few ideas:
- Send direct mail postcard asking for emails and highlighting the benefits of getting
e-newsletters and other online communication
- Call active donors, say thanks and ask for emails
- Run a contest through social media to get followers to provide email
- In your newsletters ask supporters to “friend-raise” for you by referring friends to sign up for your emails
2. Make plans to incentivize giving to reach goals
Has your organization spent time deciding on goals for your end of year campaign? Pick a goal such as increasing new donors, online donations or lapsed donors and create an incentive to reach that goal.
One of the best incentives to give can be a match gift. An example of applying this to a goal would be: “For every first time donation we receive, your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar by a generous supporter.”
Giveaways can also be used as an incentive for giving. We all are growing accustomed to this incentivized giving approach during the election campaign, “Donate $5 now to Obama and get entered to win a dinner with George Clooney!” Don’t be afraid of adapting it for your nonprofit. Give away tickets to an event, iPads, dinner with a prominent local leader, or gift cards to a local business.
3. Enhance segments to deepen personal connections
Segmenting your audience can lead to a higher return rate, but many organizations don’t go beyond segmenting based on giving history. While that is an important step, also consider segmenting based on involvement history, interests, age and any other relevant personalized info you can collect. Your goal is to show that you know them!
An easy way to get this process started is to email out a simple survey asking three things. For example:
- Thanks for supporting us. We want to get to know you better! Will you please answer a few questions for us? It will help us better serve you.
- What are your favorite programs we offer? (List 3 options)
- What is your age?
- Which of the following would you most like us to work on? (List 3 ideas)
Using the data from the survey you can segment your solicitation by program, so that each respondent gets a solicitation on the program they prefer. You can also be smarter about what you ask them to give to based on their interest in future programs. Knowing the age of your audience may help you reshape the language and format used depending on their age range.
4. Update on how last years fundraising has been used
If you haven’t sent any midyear updates to donors, now is the time. Thank your donors again and show how their donations have made an impact this year.
Don’t make any asks – except for them to refer you to a friend.
5. Schedule a cross-departmental collaborative planning meeting
Set a meeting with key development, marketing, web/IT support, graphic designers, volunteer coordinators, program leaders, board members, etc. During the first meeting evaluate needs for the end of year campaign including:
- Updated database
- Email acquisition
- Website evaluation and needs
- Design needs and timeline
- Cross marketing promotions such as e-newsletter
- Stories from program participants, donors or volunteers
- Photos – Recruit a volunteer if no quality photos are available!
- Staff availability during final week of year
Spend the next month working on this list, then reconvene and begin brainstorming campaign ideas, sharing success stories and developing a timeline for executing the campaign and each departments role. CAUTION: DO NOT WRITE SOLICITATION BY COMMITTEE. USE THIS ONLY AS IDEA GATHERING! By mid-September you should have a clear direction and timeline for completing your campaign.
Need extra help? Download our free End Of Year Planner to help map out your timeline for a successful campaign. Ready, set, go!