It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Year-End
In just over 16 weeks, it will be 2012.
I'm not trying to beat the retail stores with a display of holiday cheer. But it's September, so now is the time to firm up your plans for year-end fundraising.
It's not unusual for nonprofits to get a majority of their income in the last three months of the year. But even if that isn't your pattern, it's still a vital time to raise money. People are thinking more about sharing and getting year-end tax deductions.
Have a plan
It almost goes without saying-you have to have a plan for your year-end fundraising efforts. Now is not the time to be overly cautious. Both online and offline, your donors will be bombarded with fundraising appeals, so your voice needs to rise above the din.
According to the 2011 eNonprofit Benchmark Study, nonprofits send an average of six e-mails in December, compared to three or four a month the rest of the year. Your electronic appeals have to be exceptional to break through the inbox clutter. From the subject line to the offer, think how you can be spectacular.
Postal mail has a lot more competition from other nonprofits. One particularly aggressive nonprofit sent me 10 appeals between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 of last year. It was not unusual to get two appeals in November and three in December from others that I support. These established nonprofits are mailing this much because they know from experience that it pays to be in the mail at year-end.
While you might not want to send out six e-mails and four mail appeals in December, be sure you have a plan to be in front of your donors. Someone else definitely is, and you need to be sure you aren't forgotten in the deluge from other nonprofits.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.