5 Tips for Stronger 2013 End of Year Nonprofit FundraisingFundraising, Fundraising Services, Lottery fundraising, News, Non-profit fundraising, Online Fundraising, Philanthropy, Telephone Fundraising | Desi Cabrera | September 19, 2013 at 12:01 am
As we approach the final quarter of 2013 we reflect on a year that experienced mixed results in both overall and online nonprofit fundraising revenue. While success was experienced by many organizations in the industry some still did not meet their full potential. Last year I put together a list of 5 Strategies for Stronger End-of-Year Nonprofit Fundraising Results and I would like to expand on those strategies as end-of-year plans are being finalized and launched. The following are 5 tips to keep in mind as we close 2013:
- Set Goals – If you haven’t done so already, it’s important to set a fundraising goal. An excellent starting point is to use the total raised in the last quarter for the past 2-3 years as a benchmark and factor in a modest increase based on industry statistics. You can use the latest Blackbaud Index to reference and measure against organizations of similar size and subsector. Setting goals will let you properly assess and evaluate the success of your end-of-year fundraising.
- Tell A Story – Most successful fundraising campaigns generally surround a compelling story or series of stories that engages the supporter and motivates them to give. A well told fundraising story needs: 1) a hero that can be either your cause or organization or a person who has benefited by the nonprofit; 2) a conflict, obstacle or problem situation being faced; and 3) the ask which should be specific about how contributions will be allocated and what will be accomplished. Include vivid details and be direct – avoid jargon. Another effective strategy is creating a campaign that tells several mini-stories that tie into the larger scheme of your campaign and could be relayed through all relevant communication channels.
- Communicate Strategically – It’s important to keep your messaging consistent and integrated across all your communication channels. Direct mail, email, social media, website and blog should all have consistent branding, messaging and call to action. It’s also important to be mindful of the various communication channels so you avoid bombarding your supporters with messaging all at one time. Schedule when you reach out to supporters via each channel to avoid excessive overlap and also to optimize “asks” throughout the last quarter. For example you may want to mail out your DM pieces earlier in the campaign so that it does not get buried in the holiday mail rush and send out email appeals mid-way through the campaign.
- Stand Out – End-of-year fundraising is a busy time for fundraisers and supporters are bombarded with messaging from local, national and international nonprofits. It’s critical then to break through the crowded space and stand out to be noticed or risk being tossed into the recycling bin or deleted from an inbox. Ways to stand out include using bright colours or captivating images on direct mail envelopes, using captivating email subject lines and using photos or videos on social media postings. One strategy to standout is to see what the competition is doing through various channels and adjust your initiatives to ensure you are keeping the competitive edge.
- Outreach – This is the perfect time to reach out to top supporters who have not yet made a gift by either telephone or an in-person visit. Just as it is a busy time for fundraising, supporters are busy as well and this approach will serve as a gentle reminder in the event it was an oversight. Depending on the size of your donor list, your nonprofit’s team and budget, you can assign a certain number of donors to each team member to contact over your desired time frame or you can outsource your telephone fundraising to a professional organization.
In closing, it’s important not to leave the bulk of your end-of-year fundraising to December as this month is generally too busy for most with holiday activities. Scheduling your year-end push and communication activities for the months of October and November will not only ensure that you do not get lost in a crowded space come December, but also that you are well ahead of the results game.
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