It's Never Too Early to Think About Next Year's Holiday Giving Campaign
This year there seems to be more digital holiday fundraising programs than ever. It’s no secret that December is a great month for giving. Traditional increased giving around the holidays combined with greater access to digital, mobile and social fundraising tools have allowed nonprofit organizations to develop creative online holiday campaigns and programs centered around holiday giving.
Consider the following key factors before you launch your holiday giving program:
- Timing: Ideally the program should be launched in mid-November (or after Thanksgiving if you’re in the U.S.). This means you should have the program set up and fully tested by the end of October or early November. If you’re doing a first-time campaign, planning should start no later than the end of the summer so you have a few months to get everything set up and ready to go in November.
- Who to target? Holiday giving campaigns tend to have a broad appeal — however, these programs are particularly well-suited to new donor acquisition and reactivating lapsed donors. This is a time of year when people are more likely to “do good.”
- What to focus on? Focus on participation among new and lapsed donor groups by offering lower “participation points.” Of course for your established donors, this lower gift rule of thumb probably won’t apply. In fact, the holidays/end-of-year program is likely a good time to ask for a higher level of giving from your established donors.
- Giving as a gift: Making it easy for people to “gift” your cause to family, friends and colleagues helps you get more people involved. You typically see holiday card programs (virtual and physical) along with holiday gift catalogs. Anyone who has ever struggled with what to buy someone for $15 can appreciate that the gift of doing good — which is appreciated far beyond the dollar value.
Since your 2011 end-of-year campaigns are undoubtedly already well underway, here are several holiday giving program examples to help you develop a successful 2012 campaign:
Holiday greeting cards and gift catalogs
- Here is a holiday gift catalog program from International Teams Canada that supports orphans, widows and refugees. It offers 26 items that range in price from $5 to $5,000.
- The David Suzuki Foundation has a creative gift catalog where you can select one of nine gifts that range in price from $19 to $99 to address climate change.
- Second Harvest created a holiday gift catalog featuring 30 items that range in price from just $3 to $23. The "hero" items are holiday cards that cost $12. With these gift amounts, this program seems clearly aimed at mass participation.
- Child Fund International created a simple holiday campaign where it offers holiday cards in 45 different designs. These cost $12 or $30 depending upon quantity and whether or not they are personalized.
Virtual tie-ins to offline efforts
If your organization organizes physical holiday events or fundraisers, consider adding a virtual component.
The Salvation Army is a great example of this where it brought its well-known Red Kettle campaigns online. The Fill the Kettle campaign maps out exactly where each physical kettle is located, and the Salvation Army created a virtual kettle for that location should you not want to get in your car and drive there.
As a complementary component to the Kettle campaign, Salvation Army has also provided the ability for its supporters to create their own "iKettles" that they can send to their friends via e-mail or Facebook.
Further, if your organization is running any newspaper advertising for the holidays or sending solicitation letters, consider creating a QR code of your donation page (assuming it is optimized for the mobile Web), and use your print material with the QR code as a direct-response mechanism.
Holiday corporate-giving programs
Corporations are also getting involved with online holiday giving campaigns. These are typically used to involve employees, clients and suppliers in holiday giving campaigns.
Radio station CP24 CHUM has created a holiday campaign that encourages its listeners to donate online in support of its long-standing holiday program.
If your organization already has an online holiday campaign underway, congratulations and best of luck this season! If not, hopefully this offers some inspiration for planning a winning holiday campaign next year. Remember, the first step is putting a date on the calendar next summer to plan!