8 Things to Do for the Next 8 Weeks
__ Week of Nov. 26: Dec. 1 is this Saturday, so make sure you begin signing holiday greeting cards for the donors you have (or should have) personal relationships with. Feel free to write a personal note and stray from the "corporate messaging" based on what you know about these friends of your organization. After all, donors are just people who decided to support your cause; they appreciate the human touch, too.
__ Week of Dec. 3: Send out your first e-blast of December, reminding donors how important their year-end gifts are to your programs. In a short message, tell them clearly how you will use their donations to fulfill your mission. Make it easy for them to click through to a landing page that immediately lets them give their gifts. Don't send them on a scavenger hunt through your homepage and a dozen subsequent pages; they are likely to give up before they give.
__ Week of Dec. 10: Choose five donors to call and thank for their support while wishing them happy holidays. Sincerely let them know what a difference they made with their generosity. Shock them by not asking for a gift. Once they recover, they will most likely feel so warm and appreciated that they will response by sending in year-end gifts. (No promises, but what do you have to lose?)
__ Week of Dec. 17: Send out a "soft" e-mail wishing your donors happy holidays but also encouraging a gift before the end of the year. Be sure you give them a reason to stop everything and donate — a great program you are going to launch right after the holidays, for example, or an urgent need that you are responding to right now.
__Week of Dec. 24: Get your final e-mail of 2012 ready to go, and schedule it to arrive in your supporters' inboxes Dec. 29, 30 or 31 (depending on what day has been most effective in the past). Make it as easy as possible for them to give, and remind them that a gift by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31 may be deductible on their 2012 taxes. I know the studies show that donors state the tax deduction isn't what motivates them, but the reality is that many nonprofits receive an outpouring in donations the last few days of the year.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.