Create a Holiday Message That Dovetails Into the New Year
Hawks advises organizations to expand their notion of “holidays” and create focused campaigns throughout the season that begins around Thanksgiving and goes until the new year. The St. Joseph’s Indian School, a Chamberlain, South Dakota-based residential/educational facility for Native American youths, has a fundraising campaign for each of the motivators that encourage giving during this time of year. Its Thanksgiving campaign focuses on giving thanks for the things you have and donating to help others; its Christmas campaign is focused on raising funds to buy gifts for children who might not get them otherwise, and encourages constituents to send in Christmas cards for the children; and, as the new year approaches, the organization focuses its messaging on year-end giving.
“If you have the ability to give your [campaign] variance throughout the season, that will get more traffic, that will get you in tune with your donors. Your donors get an opportunity to respond more often, and that’s what’s going to increase your donations for the holidays,” Hawks says.
Two best practices that Hawks recommends in terms of positioning holiday campaigns are:
1. Keep it simple. Don’t deviate too far from mainstay campaigns. The goal, Hawks says, is to create a campaign that dovetails nicely into the campaigns you’re going to do the rest of the year. Keeping this consistency will help connect holiday donors to giving throughout the year.
2. Add something new. The holidays are a great time to give a new sense of excitement to mainstay programs and messaging.
“It allows [organizations] at the end of the holiday season, or after the holiday season, to draw people in and keep them in for the rest of the year,” she adds.
Hawks says many of her clients also are using the holiday season to start — or stress — their monthly or recurring gift programs. These campaigns stress the importance of all gifts, but especially ongoing gifts, and note that a recurring donation made in someone’s name is a great gift for the holidays that keeps giving all year long.