What if your end-of-year giving campaign could be more than just a letter? With a few simple adjustments to your fundraising effort, you could increase contributions to your annual fund this holiday season.
Your website should be your campaign headquarters. Make sure your homepage includes a banner, a news story, an image, or a prominent Give button that directs people to learn more about your fundraising campaign.
If you already have a Giving page on your site, that’s great! You can link your new end-of-year campaign to your general giving page. We recommend creating a unique landing page or dedicated page for your end-of-year campaign so that it’s easy to track gifts and direct traffic from social, mailings, and other awareness campaigns.
Your new page about your end-of-year giving should clearly state the goal of the campaign. If it is as broad as meeting your fundraising goals for your annual fund, assign a dollar amount and then list key benefits of giving toward your annual fund. People give to causes, not to bottom lines. The dollar amount goal matters, but not nearly as much as the person/creature/cause that will benefit from those dollars.
So tell the story of your organization using video, images, and text. Maybe even a testimonial. Whatever you think will grab the hearts of your potential donors and motivate them to contribute to your campaign.
I saw your letter and the adorable pictures of [ hungry animals, smiling children, fields of wheat ] and thought, oh man, I totally should give to support this organization. But my only giving option was to write a check. I’m young and lazy and all of my bills are set-up to auto-pay through my bank – I don’t even have a checkbook. And on top of that, your return envelope requires me to have stamps. I’m young and electronically wired and don’t even send cards in the mail – I have to buy a stamp?!
Just like that, you’ve lost the millennials, one of the largest and most up-and-coming generation of spenders in history.
We’re staring at our phones all day. Make sure your giving opportunities pop up in our line of sight.
The millennial generation (and pretty much everyone else) lives online. Your website, print materials, emails, and social content must make it ridiculously easy for them to give online.
Set-up an online account using PayPal, Stripe, or another online giving option, which will give your donors single-click giving power. If you’re super savvy, you can even set up text-to-give options. Make sure it’s clear in all of your communications that your prospective donors can give online, and watch your giving grow.
Once your campaign is live on your site, it’s time to revisit your promotional materials.
Did you know that it takes at least seven touches before most people become an engaged customer or donor? If you only send your end-of-year ask by mail and call it a day, you’re really only capturing the people that already plan to give to your organization this year. Your letter is a reminder to put the check in the mail (still important, and still effective).
To convert more potential donors into joyful givers, you have to be a more constant – and consistent – voice in their ear.
Make a plan to diversify the delivery of your end-of-year campaign. Here’s how:
Send a postcard this year instead of a letter. Make sure your ask is direct and your call to action is clear. Make the call to action a quick and easy link to your giving page on your website to make donating super easy. Or include that text-to-donate option right on your mailer.
Set up an email campaign to share your goals for the end of year. Make sure that your email messaging keeps in mind the giver’s motivations – your cause – and prompts them to click through to your giving page. Short and sweet is always better here, but don’t hesitate to share a good story if you’ve got one. And don’t send just one email – establish urgency the closer you get to the end of the year, and keep your audience updated about where you are in your goal.
Don’t forget the power of social media to raise awareness of your campaign. Make your donors and board members partners in your cause: on your Thank You page, provide content that makes it easy to share their support on their social media channels. (More about social in a second.)
With a diverse marketing strategy for your end-of-year giving, your message won’t get lost in the barrage of holiday music.
Just getting people to follow your organization’s giving efforts on social media will be a boost to your bottom line, but what if you connected to a global giving initiative?
To combat the capitalist drive to buy lots of things right after Thanksgiving into the holiday season, people started #GivingTuesday. #GivingTuesday encourages generosity and prompts individuals to remember the organizations that benefit so many others around the year.
In just two years, the amount raised on #GivingTuesday quadrupled, from $10 million in 2012 to over $40 million in 2014.
Within your end-of-year giving campaign plans, set a mini-goal to raise a certain amount toward an even more specific area of your organization. Sharpen your giving goal to the point where anyone who sees your goal can’t help but contribute because it is so specific and so necessary they just can’t see any way not to give.
With that giving goal in mind, plan to be super active on social media on #GivingTuesday. Start a few days early: share your goal and stories around that goal, and encourage people to get ready. Let people know how close you are to meeting your #GivingTuesday goals throughout the day. Create images and videos to support your cause and make sure you share those with a link back to your giving page. And when you thank your donors, don’t forget a prompt for your donor to share on their social media accounts: “I just gave to NAME OF THIS AMAZING ORGANIZATION. Join me in my support of WHATEVER THIS GREAT CAUSE IS.”
People help people. And people love to be seen helping other people. And people love to feel like they are part of a great cause. You can help them get all that intrinsic joy… and receive their generosity at the same time.
After all of that prep to make your end-of-year campaign a success, don’t forget about next year’s campaign. Besides your immediate acknowledgement of their gift (with a donation receipt), what creative way can you follow-up with your new donor base to share the results of your fundraiser?
Cultivating donor relationships isn’t a one-time event. Look for opportunities year-round to stay in front of the audience who has the means to keep your organization flourishing: send a quarterly donor newsletter. Share ongoing success stories. Don’t make it always about the ask – make it about how your donor base is making a difference. Your organization is doing wonderful work. We want to know about that work. Keep saying thanks all year with follow-up communication. That way, when the time comes to ask, your new donor base is motivated to give.
Plan how you will say thanks as part of your end-of-year giving ask.
Need help setting up your fundraising campaign’s marketing initiative? As part of our Growth Coaching program, Spire Advertising and Web Design can help you set up a comprehensive end-of-year giving campaign for your organization. Sync your website, video, email, hard copy mailers, and social media messaging to deliver a clear and compelling motivation for donors to give this holiday season.
The giving season is almost here – get started today!
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