I asked Sandy Rees from GetFullyFunded.com to do this guest blog post. She wrote a great book on fundraising letters. If you haven’t thought of your year end appeal, read this post of her ideas & then create your strategy! And be sure to let us know in the comments what you’re doing to prepare for this!
Just like the weather, fundraising has seasons. Throughout the year, we plant seeds hoping to grow donors. We nurture them, cultivate them, and coax them to bear fruit, right?
Fall is harvest time. If you’ve been doing a good job of communicating with your donors throughout the year, then you’re ready to ask for a gift and reap the harvest from your efforts.
Studies show that there are definitely months of the year that produce better results than others. October is the best month to mail. Think about why that might be:
- school is back in session,
- people are back in routines,
- then along comes a crisp, cool morning and our thoughts turn to
We get jolly and in the spirit, and we get generous. Be prepared to mail early in the month. Get your letter ready to mail to your current donors and any prospective donors you might have.
Also, if you have a good story to pitch to the media, now’s the time. The more people see your organization’s name, the more likely they are to give. If you can use the same theme or message in your fundraising letter, your media campaign, your newsletters, and online, the more successful your fundraising will be.
Get Holiday cards ready to go in the mail after Thanksgiving, but no later than the first week in December. Don’t bother to mail anything later than that – it will get lost in the Holiday rush. Don’t put an Ask in those cards – simply thank your donors and wish them Happy Holidays.
Make sure your website is ready to receive holiday visitors. Over 85% of online gifts are given during the holiday season. People need to be able to easily find your “donate now” button to make a gift.
If you make it easy for donors to understand the work your organization is doing and make it easy for them to give, you’ll be pleased with the results you get.
Thanks Marc for letting me share with your readers!
Sandy Rees, CFRE
Another way to get through the holiday clutter of direct mail after early December is to rely more on email and phone communications after that point.
Even well into the holiday season, people are still receptive to those channels especially when they’ve been primed to your organization’s value with direct mail and your earlier contact.
Thanks for sharing Sandy!
What a great help to understand the timing details! Thanks for sharing best practices. This holiday season, our group of socially responsible brands is giving non-profits across the country a free donor thank you tool that helps to support your recommendations. If anyone is interested they can get complete details at http://www.BrandsForGreaterGood.net.
Avi: Thanks for your comments! I agree, December is a GREAT month for personal communications!
Jenna: Thanks for your comments.
Is the free gift a membership for the site?
Yes, Marc. Our participating brands have created great discounts on hundreds of items exclusively for people who made the tough decision to give to non-profits in 2010. Every nonprofit gets their own branded, customizable presence on our site and their donors enjoy a year of discounts from brands who think and act like they do. Thanks so much for the follow up question!