End-of-Year Tips & Tricks
End-of-Year (EOY) is often a stressful and chaotic time for fundraisers. With a little planning, you can reduce stress for you and your team, and still meet your EOY goals! In this article, we’ve outlined some helpful hints and tips to keep in mind as you plan your End-of-Year fundraising campaigns.
Planning and Goal-Setting
First, do a little planning. Pull out your calendar and figure out key dates for your campaign. When and for how long do you want your EOY campaign to run? Will you include GivingTuesday as part of your campaign, or do you prefer to run that separate from EOY? As you determine the timing of your campaign, consider who else is helping you and when. If you’re a development team of one, see if other staff at your organization can help pitch in, even if it’s just folding letters and stamping envelopes. Put on some music and make it festive, if that’s your thing!
As you consider the timing of your campaign and your capacity, set some realistic goals; these don’t have to be just about money! You can set a goal for how much you’d like to raise, but do also consider a few goals around your initial outreach and follow up. These are the low-hanging fruit that will help you evaluate your campaign and plan for next year!
Now that you’ve outlined the campaign on your calendar, figured out your capacity, and set a few goals, it’s time to think about the messaging. Your communications should be focused on the future and the problem or issue that donors to your campaign will help you solve. Bring them into the fold even more by using donor-focused language and explain how their support is needed at this particular time. Create urgency — but be realistic about it as well. What difference does a donor’s gift make to your organization, and how quickly will you use these funds to solve the problem?
You don’t need to cram all your messaging and urgency into one email or one letter. Spread it out over a few emails throughout the timeline of your campaign and use a few different communications channels. These different communications channels are your friends! It takes a little more work at the outset to segment your lists and develop targeted messaging for each, but it is well worth it in the end.
Consider your message to your social media audience, your email newsletter audience, as well as your donors who receive a letter in the mail. Chances are there is some overlap in each of these audiences, but not much. You can vary your asks here as well. For example, while email and direct mail are great places to make specific asks, social media can perhaps be leveraged for its multiplier effects so that you can amplify the pithiest parts of your EOY messaging to your followers’ networks. You might also utilize phone calls or other one-on-one meetings if reaching out to major donors is part of your EOY strategy.
Additionally, it might seem counterintuitive, but not all your communications need to be asks for support. Instead, sprinkle some cultivation touchpoints throughout your EOY campaign. This could include sending a holiday newsletter about your work or pushing out some infographics on social media highlighting your organization’s impact over the past year. This helps donors know what their past dollars have done and connects the dots to what their future contributions can do for your organization.
Post-Campaign and Other Tips
As you continue to plan your campaign, consider any additional opportunities to pique donors’ interest and garner support. One way is through matching gifts. Often, your foundation partners, corporate supporters, or Board members can be sources of matching gifts to challenge donors to give, creating another layer of engagement for your campaign. A matching gift should be discussed and planned out more than just a few weeks from the beginning of your campaign, so if it isn’t in the cards for this year, it’s a great idea to put in your back pocket for EOY 2023!
In January, make sure to take some time to celebrate your EOY success with your team and the donors who made it possible. Promptly send thank-you letters and receipts. If your campaign was primarily via email and donors gave through an online portal, they likely already received an acknowledgement note and a tax receipt. If your donors gave through the mail, tally up those gifts throughout your campaign and issue letters and receipts as soon as you can. Either way, follow up again with donors about 4-6 weeks after your campaign wrapped up to thank them once more and let them know how their contributions are being used. They’ll be glad to hear from you!
End-of-Year doesn’t have to be stressful. Taking some time to plan out your campaign, setting some (realistic) goals, and considering your messaging and audience will put you on the path to success! With each year, you can continue to build upon your successes from the year before and make any improvements or adjustments. Step by step, EOY will hopefully get a little easier and a little more fun!
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