Tips for End-of-Year Campaign Success
5. Ask — November to December
- Direct mail/e-mail ask series
- Extra latitude for increased e-mail pace; tap into the power of multiple messages
- Opportunity for a variety of messages. Fun, holiday approach; card and gift e-mails; tax-deductible push.
Multiple asks are more powerful than a stand-alone initiative, the presenters said, because messages No. 2 and No. 3 are easier to produce than the first message you send, and it's an opportunity to increase giving.
Types of asks organizations can employ for end-of-year campaigns include:
- Traditional ask: This is a standard e-mail ask
- Alternative giving: Aimed at those doing last-minute giving. Get creative with options. For example, two options World Wildlife Fund offers in its "Last Minute Ways to Say Happy Holidays" e-mail are adopting an animal on someone's behalf online or sending someone a gift adoption card via the mail so they can pick out which animal to adopt. Focus messaging on the service you're providing recipients — easy shopping for nontraditional gifts.
- Deadline: A central component of this type of campaign is urgency. Focus messaging on preparing for challenges for the upcoming year and prepare donors to stay with you for the coming year. Send a "last chance to donate" e-mail on Dec. 31 to capture last-minute gifts.
- Tax focused: Sent in the last couple of days of the year. Online is the best way to remind constituents of this. Still can have some messaging around mission, but the focus is the tax year. The presenters recommended not sending this e-mail until after Dec. 26.
6. Analyze — January
- Communicate: "Don't let radio silence steal your momentum," the presenters said. Look forward to the new year — resolutions and plans. Thank constituents for successes in the prior year and remind them of the need to stay engaged for continued growth. Sum up the year. Communicate with non-givers as well. And send your welcome series to new donors and members.
- Learn: Analyze the end-of-year campaign to improve results and predict growth. What was the e-mail responsiveness? Was there one particular message that was off the charts or a dud? Incorporate those findings into planning for next year, and look at giving trends.
Finally, the presenters said the better prepared you are, the better your results will be. To prepare, understand that year-end campaigns are a culmination of engagement, not one-shot activities. Know that you'll need to ask repeatedly. The holidays are a busy time. Repetition is key to securing your spot in the holiday traffic. And give prospects a variety of opportunities and options to support you. Each donor has a different vision of how they want to give gifts. Offer them options, e.g., ways to support your organization while getting their chores done.
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