5 Strategies for Stronger End-of-Year Nonprofit Fundraising Results
I recently wrote about nonprofit fundraising results showing a decline according to the latest Blackbaud Index and that I was cautiously optimistic that stronger results would be posted for the remainder of 2012 to balance out this rather erratic fundraising year. Upon completing that post I began to think what nonprofits could do to maximize their outreach plans and initiatives to increase the likelihood of a successful year-end. Even though the last quarter, specifically during the holidays, are the strongest of the year nonprofits should still try to optimize opportunities and not just rely on seasonal giving habits and these 5 strategies can help improve end-of-year fundraising results.
- Key Motivators – It’s important to understand what motivates your donors to respond to your call to action. The holiday season naturally inspires many to give (generously) or as a gift. Highlighting your cause with a relatable story that can reach (potential) donors on an emotional level will motivate them to support your organization. Another key motivator is the tax benefit donations represent and the timing is perfect for a subtle tax receipt reminder. It’s important to capitalize on this time of year as recent research shows that in the month of December alone average online donation amounts can increase by as much as 50% (Salsa Labs, 2012).
- Make It Easy – It’s essential to make the donating process as easy as possible for your supporters through their preferred giving channel. The holidays are a busy time and if the process is too time-consuming or convoluted, a donor may give up rather than persevere. Online donors should be given the option to register for an account, provide payment information and make donations with minimal clicks. Mail appeals should include self-addressed, pre-completed return forms minimizing the need for donors to fill in unchanged information. Donors contacted via telephone fundraising should have historical information accessible through a customer database. The easier the process for the supporter, the more appreciated the donor will feel and that will strengthen the relationship with that donor.
- Use Best Channels – Part of an overall End-of-Year marketing plan includes strategies on how to best access your donor and supporter base during a busy holiday season that may find them more mobile. Determine how effective an email appeal or newsletter can be or how an increase in social media engagement and visibility may fare, compared to a mobile/texting program or an in person-to-person donation collection campaign. Keep in mind that with mobile devices on the rise, it’s important to ensure that all online marketing is optimized for mobile accessibility.
- Stand Out From the Rest – It is known that the holiday season is strong for fundraising and all nonprofits are essentially competing for the same donor dollars. Therefore it’s crucial to stand out from the rest by having eye-catching and engaging appeals that deliver a powerful message that will incite your supporter to take action. For example, supporters are bombarded with emails from many sources, therefore email Subject Lines need to be catchy and attention grabbing. All marketing and appeals should be captivating with a strong call-to-action that is simple to respond to.
- Thank You Goes a Long Way – Thanking donors once the transaction is complete shows appreciation for the donation and can serve other purposes like: promotion of your social media presence by linking to your organizations Facebook page, Twitter, Linked, and/or Pinterest accounts; a call to action to sign up for your newsletter and other correspondence; encouragement to share your appeal with their network; and, when appropriate, asking the donor to consider becoming a monthly donor in the near future.
The last quarter and the holidays is a prime time for fundraising so it’s critical to plan your marketing strategies carefully as donors will be bombarded with marketing messages. I will be exploring some online and offline End-of-Year nonprofit fundraising marketing ideas in future posts.
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Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centre, eBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including telephone fundraising, online fundraising, lottery services, donation caging, donation processing and other donor management services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all contact centre services and mail house operations and advancing the missions of the nonprofits we proudly serve.