Plan Your Year-End Solicitation NOW! 10 Steps to Success

10/07/2012 at 10:15 Leave a comment

So as the lazy, hazy days of Summer strike, I know it’s hard to think about holiday appeals. But let me give you some reasons why preparation now will lead to the best year-end result ever.

To be Fearless Fundraisers – we need to lead, plan and think outside the box. Let’s pledge our 2012 will be better than 2011 and Giving USA will reflect our collective commitment to doing better for our organizations, communities and donors. In order to do so, we need to plan and plan NOW!

As fundraisers, we know investment follows involvement. Let’s use the next three to six months to truly engage and involve our donors before we ask for their next gift. In addition, the year-end campaign often involves more than the development department. Remember, our urgency is not their importance. Planning helps build team and a time frame that makes it easier on everyone.

This post covers general thoughts about preparing for the year-end appeal. The next post will talk about preparation for the online portion of your integrated campaign. Following posts will talk about year-end ideas.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Benjamin Franklin

  1. Integration: Let 2012 be the year on and off-line year end appeals are truly integrated. Schedule time to meet with your internal or external direct mail and/or online campaign strategists now.
  2. Theme: Brainstorm and think about a theme – how can the theme be integrated into your website, e-news and social media communications between now and end of the year. This would include calls to action (CTA) now for your activists and donors. These CTAs do not have to involve fundraising – engagement is the key.
  3. Challenge Match: Set up the challenge match now. This is critical to raising more money. Start thinking about donors and/or corporate partners who can and will offer a match. How will it work on and off line?
  4. Database: Segmenting and updating data can take time. Even more important – is the data clean? Have donor mailing addresses been updated? Does the database allow tracking and updating of email addresses as well as the social media channels donors use?
  5. Engagement: We need all the time we can get to cultivate, engage and influence the donors we have. If you haven’t been in touch since their year-end 2011 gift, you still have time to plan strategic outreach.
  6. Storytelling: Storytelling can be easy or a challenge – start now gathering stories you want to tell. Sometimes it can take time to source and write stories.
  7. Photos & Video: Is the photo file up to date? Need to take some recent photos? How about video? No time like the present to start gathering some great visual content to use now and at the end of the year.
  8. Signers: Who’s voice or signature do you want to use in your stories and appeals? Your Executive Director or Board Chair may not be your best choice. A client, high profile supporter or celebrity can move donors to new levels of giving. For some groups women signers have a better response than men.
  9. Approval: How long will it take you and your organization to “approve” content for your year-end appeal? This includes a special end of year thank you letter that continues the theme and connects with donors. Starting early, means there is no last minute rush for sign off by your leadership, the person(s) signing the letters and whoever else needs to eyeball the letters.
  10. Printing: Details like having enough letterhead on hand, making sure the Board list on the letterhead is correct, envelopes and postage have held up year-end campaigns. If you are printing the letter and letterhead together, is the electronic signature available? Do you have the PMS color the printer needs and your logo in an EPS format for the best results?

“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.” Confucius

Entry filed under: Fundraising, Nonprofit fundraising. Tags: , , , , .

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