Ready or Not, Year-End Is Coming
In about a month, we'll be hearing "Auld Lang Syne" and hanging up new calendars from our favorite charities. If we did our jobs all year long, our donations-processing team will be working overtime to process the last-minute donations people sent via the mail, clicked online to give or even dropped off in person.
If you haven't gotten your year-end fundraising plans finalized yet, all hope is not lost. Yes, you are behind. And yes, you need to make some serious changes for 2012 (we'll get to that later).
But the time it took you to read those last two sentences is all you are allowed right now to lecture yourself on dropping the ball. It's time for action. Network for Good reports that almost 20 percent of the gifts it processes occur in the last 48 hours of the year.
You've got about 35 days to make things happen. So let's get going!
Write and send four e-mails to your electronic donor file
These need to go out tomorrow (I'll give you today off as a break), the first full week of December, Dec. 19 or 20, and Dec. 29. There's nothing magic about the number "4." It's just a realistic quantity that you should be able to manage by year-end.
Make your subject lines short and interesting. Limit your copy to 20 to 30 lines, but fill them with results, need and requests. Be sure your "Donate Now" button is at the top and that there are hyperlinks and other donate buttons throughout the e-mail. Worry less about the perfect design and more about the message that is going to compel donors to give to you before year-end.
Update your homepage and donation landing page to have a clear request for a gift before Dec. 31
Make sure you have photos that are compelling — eye contact, smiling faces, bright colors or great scenes that show the results of your work. One strong photo is worth far more than five mediocre ones.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.