Although year-end fundraising plans are mostly finalized for many non-profits, it isn’t too late to incorporate a few additional best practices into your existing strategy.
So if you’ve been crafting a plan since July and are rolling out the second phase of your approach this week… or if end of year fundraising has taken a backseat to other priorities and you’re scrambling to make the most of charitable giving this December, this post is for you.
Your donors will be looking at social media outlets a bit more during the December holidays than other times of the year. Think about all those new smartphones and tablets they opened as gifts! Or the increased screen time on days off around the holidays… Make the most of this by scheduling social media content in advance. Make sure your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and Flickr profiles look just as robust as ever (even if much of your staff is on vacation during the end of the year).
Tools like TweetDeck make scheduling posts in advance easy! Repurpose the content from your fundraising emails and direct mail into social media posts – and don’t be afraid to use similar images too. The more you can tie in the look and feel of messages and graphics from other channels, the more money you will raise. Remember: multi-channel fundraising is the way to go!
Speaking of multi-channel, this is one of my very favorite tips that non-profits can easily take advantage of with little notice. A few days before your end of year direct mail drops, send an email message to all your donors who will receive the snail mail piece. Say something like “watch your mailbox for something from us!” Consider using an image from your snail mail letter in the email for brand consistency. This will increase the fundraising results of the direct mail piece, and can even spur some unsolicited donations after the email, too!
Remember: people need to see a message or request multiple times before taking action, so you amp up the impact of your direct mail piece by repeating the request in an email and on social media, too.
Here’s a great example of a pre-direct mail drop email from Calvary Women’s Services.
Always Be Prepared
With all the focus on end of year fundraising, it isn’t too soon to think about your strategy for the New Year. In fact, this is the perfect time to begin thinking about the beginning of the year. My clients find that the end of January and entire month of February are the best times to cultivate sustaining donors (moving those one and two time donors into monthly donors).
Build a “Welcome Series” (or three part email series) to thank folks who have recently become donors to your organization and encourage them to make a monthly gift. Don’t forget to create a unique culture around your monthly donor community (access to exclusive conference calls with your board chair or behind the scenes tours of your offices) and include an opportunity to be a monthly donor on all donation forms.
What else are you doing this end of year season to ensure successful fundraising results? Share your strategies in the comments section of this post.
The preceding is a guest post by Emily Goodstein,a client success manager at Blackbaud. She works with a variety of nonprofits based in North America, empowering organizations to achieve excellence in online marketing, fundraising, and advocacy. Emily serves on the board of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington and has more than 10 years of grassroots organizing and fundraising experience. When not blogging for npENGAGE, she can be found live tweeting food truck lunches or photographing her tiny nieces in the DC ‘burbs.