For many nonprofits and ministries, the fourth quarter of the year is crucial to their financial health. Many organizations collect up to half of their annual revenue between October and December. And estimates indicate as much as 80% of that 50% comes in during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. As a side note, board members might need an explanation of this phenomenon as they look at cash flow statements.
Now is the time to plan your fundraising strategies to ensure you end 2022 strong and begin 2023 strong!
It is the perfect time to get to work to ensure maximum success and to generate the most dollars for the mission of the organization.
- Determine your approach. Will you be using an online appeal, a direct mail appeal or a combination of both. Examine your database (even if it is a spreadsheet) to see if you have email addresses, mailing addresses, or both. Additionally, you will want to understand who is on your mailing list. For instance, if most of your donors are older or don’t use email, you will want to make sure to mail them a letter. FYI – Research shows direct mail appeal letters are more effective than email appeals.
- Determine the focus of your request. The focus of your request is not, “because we need money.” Instead, designate a certain project or service as the beneficiary of all funds received through the annual appeal. Then, focus your communications on this effort and make your donor the hero – remember, the organization is not the hero (sometimes this is difficult for organizations to understand).
- Clean up your list. Our lists can become like our closets – a mess until we take the time to clean them up. Establish a policy for removing people from the list that no longer live in the area, who no longer contribute or engage with the organization, or those that are deceased. Your list is not “set it and forget it.” As you think about a database to manage your list, know that many fee-based systems will actually validate names and addresses for you.
- Look at your web presence. People will visit your social media pages and website before donating. Are you up to date? Is the staff and board list current? Does the website reflect current program or service efforts? Are social media pages current, or have you not been active? Now is the time to get active, because out of sight is out of mind.
- Identify volunteers. Volunteers can help fold direct mail letters and address and stuff envelopes.
- Determine a timeline. When do you want your donors to receive communications from you? Ideally, your request needs to be in the mail by Thanksgiving. Any later and it will get mixed in with all of the holiday mail. Using your target mailing date, work backward to identify due dates for all of the specific tasks.
Are you overwhelmed and challenged at the thought of writing your annual appeal letter? Contact us with your questions, let us know how we can help.