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Insights from Karen Climer about fundraising and nonprofit organizations

Six Ways To Make More Money On Your Year-End Appeal

September 2nd, 2013 by Karen Climer

It’s time to start planning your year-end appeal.  You are starting now, right?  Please don’t tell me you are going to wait until November to start thinking about this.  Here are six things you need to know as you start planning for the end of the year.

  1. Direct mail is still the king. You want to save money, so you are going to skip the direct mail and just do an email appeal. Big mistake! A 2010 study by Dunham + Company showed that direct mail drives more online donations than online communications do.
  2. One solicitation is not enough. Sure, you will get some donations from one solicitation, but that is not the way to maximize your year-end appeal. The year-end giving season only comes once a year, so you need to make the most of it. Send one direct mail piece, and at least three email solicitations. (Don’t forget to filter out the ones who give to the first request.)
  3. Write a letter than moves people to act. Use “you” more than “we”. Lots of white space. Short sentences. Action words. Conversational tone.
  4. December is king. Last year, 19% of donations, or $404.5 million, came in December. That is more than double what was donated in the #2 month (May). But online giving on December 30 and 31 are off the charts. Remember those 3 emails solicitations that you are going to send. Send one on December 29 and the one on December 31.
  5. Get in front of your donors. Don’t depend only on direct mail and online giving. Get in front of prospects in November and December. If you call them in December and try to set an appointment, they will probably say, “Let’s wait until after the new year.” So call them now and get the appointment on the calendar.
  6.  Thank your donors promptly and personally. If you need a New Year’s resolution for your development office, it should be to improve your thank you process. (You don’t have to wait until the new year. Go ahead and start right now.) Call all first-time donors as soon as you learn of their gift. Nothing you do is more important than thanking your donors. More on this in a few days…

Posted in Year-end fundraising

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