Alex heads up Customer Success at BrightGuest. She's passionate about helping nonprofits thrive, digital marketing, plus cats + ranch dressing.
10 MIN READ
The giving season is a crazy busy time of year for nonprofit professionals! You go from Giving Tuesday right into your year-end giving campaigns. To say you’re hustling is an understatement! Not only does 1/3 of annual giving occur in December, but your supporters are flooded with messages from all types of organizations from nonprofits to retail competing for their attention! How do you rise above the noise and connect with your donors to ensure your end of year fundraising campaigns are successful?
We’ve got you covered! We recently reached out to several of our nonprofit customers and friends to ask for their go-to tip to drive year-end fundraising and engagement. Check out these year-end fundraising best practices from 8 nonprofit leaders:
SEGMENTATION + PERSONALIZATION IS KEY
“Segment as much as you can! If you have the historical data to look at what was successful in the past, use that to build your foundation for this year. As a prospective donor, I should be getting an appeal that is relevant to me and delivered through a channel to which I am likely to respond.”
Julie and Jan, Co-Founders at c3 Strategists
Julie and Jan are right! Segmentation is so important when it comes to your outreach, especially with email which is noisy and crowded. Segmentation is the practice of dividing your audience into smaller, approachable groups so you can create and deliver more effective and personalized messaging and content. And as consumers, we’ve come to expect personalized communications across all channels. According to the 2018 Charitable Giving Statistics report, targeting donors on a 1:1 level increases response rates up to 50% or more. So done are the days that you can rely solely on mass, generic email blasts to create a response!
REACH YOUR AUDIENCE ON ALL CHANNELS
“This year we are reaching everyone at all angles through text messages, online social media, emails, and even though direct mail with personalized messaging based on the audience group. Our tip for end of the year campaigns is make it fun, impactful and to the point. Also make sure to get it out in a timely fashion. We try and have the plan in place by early November for a mid-November through December promotion.”
Kiel, Associate Director at American Diabetes Association Michigan
Kiel offers key advice in utilizing multichannel marketing to drive end of year campaigns home for the holidays! It takes multiple touchpoints across all channels to compel action. And in today’s world where we’re constantly multitasking in front of more than one screen with the option to consume content on-demand, it’s hard to capture the attention of your donors, so it’s incredibly important to meet your audience where they are...align your communication with how your audience consumes content. 😉
CONNECT ON A PERSONAL LEVEL
“It’s important to identify what funders are passionate about so we can align our initiatives and co-create possibilities with our communities. We reach out directly to current partners, sponsors and individuals in a variety of ways, including personal messages or meetings to discuss ways to collaborate on making an impact. New funders are always welcome to connect with our team.”
Dr. Jeremy Babendure, Executive Director at SciTech Institute
Dr. Jeremy Babendure makes an important point about personal outreach. Giving is one of the most personal things that we do, so it only makes sense that your engagement is too! Find out what motivates your supporters to give, so you can align your communications with their passions and build lifelong relationships with your donors. How can you do that? Create a conversation with your audience. Survey them, ask them, listen to them and give them a way to reach out to you! Personalize your digital outreach and layer in some human touchpoints with personal phone calls and even meetings and intimate events.
USE STORYTELLING TO COMMUNICATE IMPACT
“Effectively telling your story is crucial for driving online fundraising and engagement. Donors need to know who you are, what you do, and how their donation is going to make an impact.”
Alex, Development Coordinator at The ALS Association Arizona Chapter
We all have stories. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, stories are universal. And like Alex said, storytelling is crucial to communicate how donations make an impact. Everyone is constantly on the go these days with their phones glued to their hands. You can capitalize on that and use the many digital channels available to tell your stories. From Instagram Stories to podcasts and blogs, get creative and share your stories on the channels where your audiences actively are.
SHARE PEER-TO-PEER FUNDRAISING TIPS WITH YOUR SUPPORTERS
“The end of the year offers a lot of great last minute fundraising opportunities as many people need to get their final, end of the year tax deductible donations in. A few great ideas to get some of these last minute donations in are:
Make a final countdown email and/or social post showing your progress and gap to goal to create a sense of urgency in donors.
Post a selfie on social media and brag how hard you have been working to reach your fundraising goals. Be sure to use nonprofit swag to bring awareness to the cause you are fundraising on behalf of.
Be willing to match a specific dollar amount that comes in between specified dates (or get a close friend/family friend to match your gifts!)
When things come down to the line don't be afraid to get desperate! Check out this desperation message template.”
Nicole, Asst National Manager of Chapter Development at Crohn's & Colitis Foundation
We love these tips from Nicole! Not only does your organization need to be doing #allthethings to drive fundraising and engagement, but also helping your donors with their peer-to-peer fundraising efforts. Give your fundraisers access to tips and best practices to ensure their fundraising campaigns are a success. Your nonprofit team has seen what has and hasn’t worked over the years so share the knowledge. Even better, ask your top fundraisers what their go-to tips are for driving donations. Tap into your influencers to get their testimonials, videos and content that will be incredibly relatable to your audience. Just how peer-to-peer fundraising is successful through word-of-mouth marketing, user-generated content has the same effect!
FOCUS ON AUTHENTICITY AND RELEVANCY
"When sharing stories of impact in digital channels, focus on authenticity and relevance to your audience. People engage, support and share content they find interesting and relevant to them."
Taylor, VP of Marketing at Pursuant
Taylor is right. No matter what audience you’re targeting, focus on content that will resonate with them. With multiple channels across multiple devices, there’s more opportunities for distraction and the amount of content available is actually making us more selective. For example, social media is made for short bursts of digital activity. When sharing content on social, make it quick and easy to digest on-the-go. Additionally, people tend to respond more to less polished content that’s authentic and they can relate to. Another idea...blogging—it's the perfect place to turn strangers into friends by writing articles that answer questions your nonprofit typically receives. Bonus idea...text messaging is very effective in connecting with your supporters in real-time and inspiring them to take action.
DON’T FORGET THE THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU
“I have a philosophy that gratitude begets gratitude, so St. Joseph the Worker is making sure to be grateful to our supporters. So in any version of email or online giving, we are making sure to thank everyone we contact." 😊
Katie, Director of Development at St. Joseph the Worker
“With an increase in donations around the holidays—don’t forget to follow-up and send out your Thank You notes and receipt ASAP so your donors know you appreciate them choosing your organization for their dollars. Keep that momentum going after the New Year’s with a ‘Resolution Campaign’ to give back!”
Diana, Development Coordinator at Impact of Southern Arizona
Both Katie and Diana stress the importance of the THANK YOU, and we couldn’t agree more. Nonprofit engagement does not end with a donation, it’s an ongoing relationship that you need to build and nurture. Donor retention rates are decreasing, and that’s not something we want to see! Making sure you have a gratitude strategy in place can help increase your retention rates. Timely, personal thank yous across all channels, automated receipts, giving your donors a way to reach out, showing how their dollars make an impact and ongoing updates are all incredibly important in retaining your donors and building lifelong supporters.
AND THAT’S A WRAP
What do you think? Tons of valuable tips from amazing people empowering the world for good! Take one, two...or all of these tips and implement them into your year-end fundraising campaigns to maximize impact during the most important time of the year.