Preparing for End of Year Fundraising: Engagement strategies

October 2, 2017 Charlie Davenport

The end of the year is approaching, it’s time to map out your engagement strategies. December is such a valuable time for fundraising, fact over 17.4% of giving takes place this time of year. Your organisation isn’t the only one that’s realised this month is so valuable for fundraising, so you need a thoughtful approach to help your messaging to your donors stand out.

The Basic Frame Work

As you build your plan, here are some fundamentals to keep in mind:

  • Mine the Data: Take a look at your donor breakdown, including all donors from the past three years. Add dates as reference to see your donor’s preferred giving timeframe. Reverse the order of gift size to spot your big donors. Exclude deceased, memorials, capital campaign payment, etc.
  • Review Your Case: Engage your donors for why they should support your end-of-year campaign by building a case statement. It should be clear and specific, answering the question, “What are you going to do with this money if I donate to you?” Make sure to arm everyone in your organisation with this case statement so they can engage supporters. 
  • Target the Best Donors: Choose your biggest donors for personal contact. Set a goal to contact your top donors by the end of the first week of December to express gratitude. By sending heartfelt thanks and reminding donors how valuable their gifts were from the previous year will help in renewing their support. This can be face-to-face or a phone call. Don’t forget to share news on mission impact or upcoming plans before inviting them to once again partner with you.
  • Contact the Next Tier of Donors: Revisit your list and focus on your next tier of donors. Personal contact is not a necessity, a quick and easy strategy to request their support can be a personal letter or handwritten note. This letter should be much more personal, and shouldn’t resemble a direct mail piece. Remember this is your opportunity to renew their support; tie in the request to your case statement.
  • Motive your donors; consider adding additional incentives along with your regular messaging.  While this requires extra set-up time, they can add value to gaining their support for your end-of-year fundraising campaign. Examples include:
    • Matching gift challenge
    • Gift premiums
    • Honor and memorial gifts
    • Gift memberships
  • Extend Your Thanks:  The end-of-year is the best time to show thanks towards your donors! The holiday season is all about appreciation. To sustain your donors, call them as much as possible wishing them a warm and healthy holiday season.

Crafting your appeal  

Don't forget #GIVINGTUESDAY, a special feature that was founded back in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y has engaged more than 10,000 organisations worldwide. This idea focuses on giving back through individuals, communities, and organisations. Incorporating this element can help you in kicking off the season of giving for your organisation.  

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