Make the Most of Your Year-End Fundraising

Year-end is a monumental time in the nonprofit sector. Fundraising efforts are already in full swing – and for good reason! A 2012 GuideStar Survey concluded that 50.5 percent of organizations surveyed said they receive the majority of contributions between October and December. It is critical that nonprofits spend time building smart tactics early because every donor they have will be solicited by dozens of other organizations.

Crunch the Numbers

As you are planning your mail and e-mail campaigns, run some reports to see what worked well last year. Then, make some important decisions. If there are zip codes that don’t have a great history of responding to your mailings, consider focusing only on the zip codes that do. If a portion of your donors only respond to email appeals, trim them from your snail mail list. Consider asking donors to match or increase what they gave last year. Not only does this help to tailor your letter, it communicates that you have sound tracking and finance systems in place.

Save Yourself Some Heartache (and Money)

It is so hard to trim a mailing list. We get it! As fundraisers, we think that every lapsed donor will one day come back to us so we keep them on newsletter, appeal, and event lists. If a donor has been lapsed for 2 or 3 years and hasn’t responded to newsletters, event invitations, or other appeals, consider transitioning them to the e-mail appeal list. I know it is hard because you’re thinking, “this is the time they might come back to us!” Be strong. Especially with donors that have only given you one gift and you’ve sent them 4-5 appeals. It’s time to let them go and focus on those who want to support your organization.

Say the Right Thing

Your year-end appeal will be with a stack of other appeals sitting inside either the donor’s mailbox or inbox. Make sure to stand out. Ditch the statistics and inspire your donors with a story that they will want to share with a friend. Then, consider using a visual that sparks emotion (hint: pictures of buildings do not spark, up-close faces do!)   Have questions about how to crunch numbers or run any reports that were discussed in this blog post? Contact us today!

About Mary Hackett

Mary is a fundraiser & operations strategist who specialized in helping development offices create deep, meaningful experiences for their donors.

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