As we approach the year-end, how can your nonprofit execute a successful campaign to finish the year on a good note? Furthermore, how can you ensure your organization is ready to succeed next year? Here are some year-end strategies and tips from roundCorner’s experts.
Start Prepping for the Year-End Early
“Plan early. It’s difficult to execute an effective campaign if you don’t start thinking about it until after Thanksgiving. End-of-year campaigns should be a basic component of every organization’s annual marketing and production calendars. Also, understand that huge volumes of email are sent in the last week of the year, so plan for the possibility of slower delivery and give yourself some padding in your schedule.”
– Bennett Donovan, Senior Project Manager
Personalize Your Communications
“Reach out to your supporters based on what you know about them. Through your organization’s CRM solution, you should have record of what, when, where, how, and perhaps why a past donor has given. These details are not only important for your records, but for personalizing your communications with constituents. This is especially true around year-end, when your org aims to reach past donors and new donors alike during the popular time for giving.”
– Madhu Gadireddy, Technical Architect
Plan Your Campaign Around an Event
“Was there an event or national story that inspired your donors to give in the past year? This event should inform your campaign’s messaging and timing. If there was no specific event that created a spike in giving, #GivingTuesday could be a launch pad for beginning your year-end solicitation.”
– Wendy Davis, Product Marketing Manager // @wdanleydavis
Emphasize Recurring Gifts
“Establishing a monthly sustained giving program is a best practice in nonprofit organizations across the globe. Organizations in the US were slower to adopt the practice than our international counterparts, although many US nonprofit organizations have made great strides in pursuing sustainers at every opportunity and investing significant resources into their programs.
“As most organizations have learned, monthly donors are a valuable asset as they out-perform other donors on the two drivers of long-term value, lifetime revenue per donor and retention.
“Creating a monthly sustained giving program doesn’t happen overnight, but if you already have an established group of monthly donors keep in mind the following for your end of year fundraising efforts:
- Conversion: As your end of year fundraising kicks into high gear, consider implementing an approach to convert newly acquired single gift donors to sustainers.
- Upgrade: Year-end is a prime time to ask your sustaining donors for an upgrade to their monthly giving amount. A nominal increase of even $1 or $2 per month can make an impact.
- Extra Gift: Don’t hesitate to ask your sustaining donors for an extra gift at year-end.
- Sustainer Option: Organizations that are deeply committed to building their sustained giving program often offer the option of sustained giving before they offer the option of a single gift on their website. Something to consider.
- Thank you: Last, but certainly not least, thank and acknowledge your sustaining donors for their ongoing support.”
– Torie Carruth-Azar, Customer Success Manager
Offer Gift Donations
“As the end of the year is a popular gift giving time, why not make it easy for your donors to give a donation in lieu of a gift to a loved one? Offer a card, email or other item that the donor or your organization can send to the recipient. Describe what impact the gift will have for your cause, who gave the donation and how to learn more about your mission.”
– Gretchen Jerva, Manager, Managed Services
Test Your Tax Receipt Mailings
“If your organization sends a tax receipt mailing to donors as part of your cultivation strategy, doing a test run in December can save you valuable time in January.
“Running the select as a test in December and reviewing the results (including calculating all calendar year giving through November and ensuring that the tax receipt value aligns with IRS regulations if you mail premiums or thank you gifts) to catch and correct any errors will help ensure that the January campaign goes smoothly and makes it into the mail by 1/31.”
– Kendra Carter, Senior Director, Managed Support and Services
Use the Time for Maintenance
“While the holidays are likely the busiest time of the year, fundraising systems often sit idle during the actual holidays themselves. It can be a great time to do low risk but time consuming upgrades or data fixes.”
– Stephen Earheart, Technical Architect, roundData
Keep Next Year in Mind
“As you start your year-end process this year, keep next year in mind. Start a running list of items that you did well and items that you did not do well. After things settle down, use the list as a retrospective to identify positives to repeat next year. Likewise, take note of those items that need improvement. Brainstorm early and come up with a plan to approach these items differently for next year. Repeat this every year to continually improve and fine-tune your year-end process.”
– Sharif Shaalan, Manager, Technical Architects // @Sharif_Shaalan
By putting these year-end strategies into action, your nonprofit will be ready to close out 2017 with a successful campaign. To learn more about how your nonprofit can finish the year strong–and hit the ground running next year–contact us.