End of Year Fundraising – Part 1 – The Time is Now

“Donors want fundraising messages targeted to them that match the way they think and feel.”
The Influential Fundraiser, Bernard Ross and Claire Segal

The end of the year will be here before you know it. Have you started planning and plotting your end of the year fundraising appeal? Our client appeals will be in the mail on November 1 or November 16 for United Way recipients. Here are some suggestions:

Make sure your data is clean and ready to go. If you haven’t run your donor base through National Change of Address (NCOA) via the post office or updated from all those returned envelopes sitting in a pile – no time like the present. Don’t want that solicitation letter in the dead letter file, do we?

Be sure you have appropriate salutations for everyone.

Segment, segment, segment. In order of priority eliminate duplicates:

  • Board contacts
  • Current donors
  • Lapsed donors
  • Volunteers who are donors
  • Volunteers who are not donors
  • Prospects – non donors

Write, write, write. It takes time to craft, edit, re-write and finalize a great fundraising letter. Start NOW. And look at those segments….write to each one. Include quotes, remember it’s about storytelling, use a different point of view. Ask for a specific donation amount and an increased gift from current donors in every letter. Mal Warwick says a p.s. is a great opportunity for a call to action. Remember to include the URL for online giving.

Collateral materials – start preparing now:

  • Letterhead – something different? Personalized letterhead for every Board member.
  • Mailing envelopes – different color? What’s the message ON the envelope?
  • Donation response form – does it include:
    • Monthly giving option
    • Matching gift information
    • Planned giving question
    • Choice to be anonymous
    • Odd gift numbers like, $54,$77, $126, $252
    • How the donor wants to be recognized on donor recognition lists
    • Request email and mobile phone information
    • Organization contact information and URL to make the gift on line

Website – is it updated to reflect messages and donation options from the appeal? Storytelling about your work, mission and people? Videos loaded?

Facebook page – is yours updated and ready to use Causes as a part of your end of the year fundraising? See Susan Gordon’s NTEN Blog Post on how to use Causes for your end of year appeal.

Social Networking – You have time to continue to build your online presence, form relationships, interact with your online community between now and solicitation.

In Part 2 – Why and how an integrated, multi-channel approach to your end of year fundraising is worthwhile.

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