Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Really Simple Real Year End Fundraising – Make it Good to the Last Drop

Does this sound familiar? It is December and your holiday campaign is well underway. The direct mail appeal has gone out and this year it was coordinated with a very nice eNewsletter. The email list is growing – still not as big as you’d like but it did grow in the last year. Your website now has donate now capability or it has a more established provider that people would actually recognize and trust versus that cheaper clunky one requiring three clicks to donate that you used last year. You’re feeling pretty good about the improvements you made this year and all that remains is to open the envelopes that come in and record donations in your database and pray that this year is better than last. Right? NOT!!

The most lucrative day of the year for online donations is…. guess….New Year’s Eve. Network for Good says that one third of all donations they receive in a year are in December. Large nonprofits know this and have their “real year end” marketing plans in the hopper. Will your small nonprofit be thought about on New Year’s Eve when last they heard from you was the middle of November? Are you on vacation during Christmas week and so you aren’t planning on doing any fundraising then? Now is the time to put all that new technology you’ve been working on to work for you.

Put your “Really Simple Real Year End” campaign together now and be ready to go during the last week of December. Here are a few ideas:

1. Update you website with Holiday news – Picture of holiday celebrations with people you serve, video of gifts being distributed to children, meals served to the homeless, puppies finding a new home, holiday theater performances, art shows, etc.

2. Provide an update on the needs you hope to fill in 2011 on your website. Make it short and concise – people are busy this time of year. Think bullet points.

3. Put these featured holiday messages on the homepage – not buried several clicks away.

4. If your donate now button is in an obscure place or too small to immediately get a reader’s attention, have your webmaster take care of that TODAY. And make sure the donate now button is on every page – your home page is not the only landing page.

5. Sign up and attend the Network for Good free webinar on December 7th - The Final Word on Year-End Fundraising: The 5 Things You Can Still Do to Boost Your December Income. Mark Rovner of Sea Change Strategies is the presenter so this is sure to be worthwhile.

6. Write some facebook updates with pictures now but post them in the week after Christmas – don’t be shy – post more than one. Showing up in your fans newsfeed in the week after Christmas is – as Martha Stewart would say – a good thing.

7. Send a brief email to everyone AFTER Christmas with a reminder that there is still time to make your 2010 donation and it’s the last chance to get a tax deduction this year. Reinforce you key message of what you want to accomplish in 2011 using the bullet points you developed for your website earlier. Have the donate now button prominent in you eNewsletter.

If you will be on vacation during Christmas week, prepare this eNewsletter early, save it as a draft in your email provider database and have it ready to go on December 26th or 27th.

Presto – by doing a few things in the next couple of weeks you can really give your Really Year End campaign a powerful boost and make it good to the last drop.

Please share you ideas in the comments and also let us know how successful your really year end campaign was.


Amy Eisenstein said...

Great tips, Marion. The only thing I would add is that there should be someone who can answer questions from donors and process donations in the office during the week between Christmas and New Year's. This is not the time for vacation, but a fundraiser's busy season!

Anne W. Ackerson said...

Great post, Marion! I'm on it and will start my "real year end appeal" plans today!

It still baffles me that so many organizations don't engage in some sort of special appeal -- year end or not. I suppose if an organization is too "unorganized" to pull an appeal together, perhaps contributions are better spent elsewhere.

Marion Conway said...

Thanks Amy for adding this expert advice.

top crowdfunding sites said...

Extraordinary tips, Marion. The main thing I might include is that there ought to be somebody who can answer inquiries from contributors and transform gifts in the workplace throughout the week between Christmas and New Year's. This is not the time for get-away, yet a pledge drive's occupied period!