The end-of-year fundraising season is officially upon us! For nonprofit organizations, end-of-year giving can result in 40% or more of total yearly donations. You’ve seen all the resources for what you should be doing for your year-end campaign, but what about what you should not do? These tips are just as valuable and can spare you lots of time and stress (trust us!).
For your sanity, please check out these 10 things NOT to do for your 2015 year-end campaign:
1. Do NOT wait until the last minute to plan.
Don’t stress yourself out and throw together an end-of-year fundraising plan at the last minute. Plan ahead of time and set goals for your organization to achieve. Make sure your goals are SMART:
Acknowledging key moments throughout your campaign can help punctuate your overall impact. No one wants to receive email after email of the same old message. Break up the flow by talking about related events, milestones, and other current happenings.
For example, Giving Tuesday - falling this year on December 1 - is a global day dedicated to giving back. It’s also a fun and super simple way to leverage your campaigning. Don’t miss your opportunity to create a plan around this day of giving back. Each year, nonprofits participating in #GivingTuesday are seeing significant increases in their average gift sizes. So it pays to plan now!3. Do NOT miss the opportunity to convert new activists into donors.
Welcome new action takers to your list and don’t miss the opportunity to ask them to continue their support of your organization with a donation. As we discussed in this previous blog, just because a supporter enters your list by taking one kind of action, does not mean that they are forever limited to that same kind of engagement. Make the effort to cross-cultivate activists and donors. Learn how to connect, cultivate, and convert new supporters into donors.
4. Do NOT miss the opportunity to ask current donors to give again.
Donors that have given once to your organization are obviously interested in your cause, so don’t let them slip away! Don’t just ask them once and leave it at that. In fact, once somebody has engaged with your organization once, they are primed to give again. Don’t believe it? Check out the findings of this study that prove giving is addictive.
5. Do NOT mix messages across platforms (Integrate! Don’t confuse.)
Be consistent. Whether you’re sending an email, posting on Facebook or sending a direct mail piece, your audience should know that it’s year-end fundraising time. That doesn’t mean beat them over the head with it or use the exact same words to communicate across all platforms. Instead, pick a story. Be genuine and communicate in a way that is best suited for each medium. Create a steady drumbeat so that your audience is reminded to give no matter where they are interacting with your organization.
6. Do NOT forget to involve your staff, board and volunteers!
Year-end fundraising is stronger when not just one or a few teams shoulder the burden of reaching your goals. Get into the spirit. Make year-end fundraising time a fun competition that your entire organization can rally around. Everyone can do their part whether it’s hosting or attending events (small or large), getting the word out, or making personal contributions.
7. Do NOT forget to share updates throughout your campaign.
People want to know:Have you met your goal? Are you close? How is your campaign progressing? Keep supporters informed via emails, blogs, and social media. Let them know about the progress being made and more specifically, how their support is helping to make an impact.
8. Do NOT forget to say “thank you!”
It’s crucial to let your donors know how appreciative you are. Thank you emails are an easy way to express your gratitude, show your supporters that their donation matters, and make them want to donate again. And don’t forget to make it awesome.
9. Do NOT annoy your supporters!
What is the fastest way to lose donors? By not acknowledging their previous gifts before asking for another donation. You’re not a robot and neither are your supporters. Donors expect genuine, two-way communications. Here’s how you achieve that without draining all resources. As mentioned above, first, write an awesome thank you email. Then, when sending out your follow-up appeals, segment your list and customize your emails so that you can send a more personal message to donors who’ve given recently or at all in the past. And it’s a good thing that segmenting and customizing is so simple in Salsa!
10. Do NOT forget to think about 2016!
Don’t let all your hard end-of-year fundraising work go to waste in 2016. Plan ahead and think about how you’re going to engage your newest donors. Map out your welcome series and plan for how you’re going to thank and acknowledge supporters. How are you going to move these folks from being one-time gift givers to recurring, long-term donors?
Think you’re ready to crush year-end fundraising? We hope so! This list is meant to set you on the right path. Now it’s up to you to bring it all home!