End-of-Year Fundraising Communications
If you haven't yet started, now is the time to plan and begin executing your end-of-year giving campaign. Our campaigns often start with #GivingTuesday, providing us with more time - about six weeks - to connect with and engage potential donors. We continue our campaigns through the end of December.
THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENT IS A COMPELLING "ASK"
- Make sure you're asking people to give to a cause they will perceive as worthwhile, so the donation will make them feel good.
- People want to feel that their donation can make a difference in an individual's or family's life, in a community, or in our society - show them how.
- Distinguish your organization - and your giving campaign - from the pack so donors are convinced to give to your organization as opposed to all the others that will ask.
What works for end-of-year appeals?
- Feature compelling personal stories.
- Engage your staff or select supporters - including your board and junior board - to encourage others to give.
- Make potential donors feel like they can make a difference at any level, from $25 to $2,500.
- If you can, create a match that will double donors' dollars and impact.
- Make the total goal - be it $10,000 or $1 million - a stretch for your organization, pushing you to work harder to reach it.
Below is information about the what, when and how of getting giving information into the hands (or phones) of potential donors.
A cohesive, attractive, engaging look and feel for all campaign elements is key to a successful campaign. You don't need to hire a professional designer, though that will help. If you have a good eye and a simple program like Publisher, you can do it all in-house.
Design elements you should include in your campaign:
- Photos of individuals telling their personal stories plus other related images
- Website slider
- Facebook cover photo (like the image below!)
- Infographics - designed for social, email, and print
- Social media images
- Reply card
- Postcard - for board, staff, and friends to use to direct people to website to give (like the one above!)
- Video - short videos are easy enough to make using an iPhone and iMovie or using still images and Animoto. And, they make for great social and web content.
We like Causevox, though there are plenty of other platforms that you can use. Pick one where surrogate fundraisers can create their own pages (and make it easy by giving them content and photos). The more people you have raising money, the more successful your campaign will be.
- Content should be short and compelling (like in the example below)
- Include a personal story and photo(s).
- Go the extra mile: embed a short video.
Aim to go live at least two weeks before #GivingTuesday to get a jump start on your fundraising.
#GivingTuesday (Nov. 27)
Post compelling #GivingTuesday social media content starting the day after Thanksgiving and going through November 27. Yes, we encourage you to post to social media on Black Friday and Cyber Monday - and in between too.
Many people are in the spending mood, and you should encourage them to spend their money on something good. We suggest five posts on each platform (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). At the end of #GivingTuesday, don't forget to thank those who donated!
We like to mix it up, sending emails written (or ghostwritten) by staff, clients, and supporters/surrogates. We ask ourselves: who are the best, most compelling people to deliver the message and the ask?
And, because so many people read emails on mobile devices, we make sure they are mobile-friendly.
A fundraising letter from the executive director is the tried-and-true centerpiece of an annual appeal campaign, but don't forget to continue supporting the campaign through social media. We aim for about 10 posts on each platform (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), using compelling imagery, data, and personal stories to inspire people to donate throughout the month of December.
It's also important to bolster your appeal with emails. We recommend a few emails in the weeks after the letter hits mailboxes, featuring stories of those who donors will be helping, followed by a New Year's Eve reminder to your audience that they have one last chance to make a tax-deductible donation in 2018.