8 Easy Things to Do to Raise More Money for Year-End
The biggest fundraising time of the year for most nonprofits is here. You’ve no doubt been working on the big things for year-end. Yet often it’s the little things that count and pack a surprising wallop. Here are eight simple efforts that could help your nonprofit raise more money before Dec. 31.
1. Send a Thank-You
If it’s been a while since you thanked donors for the impact of their giving, take time to do so now — before you send your next appeal. This puts people in a grateful and giving mood. Essentially, it persuades folks to say “yes” when you ask. Because you’ve done them the small favor of acknowledging them and reporting back, they’re inclined to reciprocate.
They’ll also like you more, because you’ve thought about them. When we like people, we tend to be more generous with them. The one small act of a thank-you letter encompasses three of Robert Cialdini’s principles of influence.
2. Make Your Donate Button Stand Out
In the moment people are feeling warm-hearted toward your cause, make sure your donate button is big, bold and easy to find. This may seem obvious, but many nonprofits blow this opportunity to drive more philanthropic giving. You may think it’s unseemly to call too much attention to it. Well, it’s a lot more unseemly to let people who rely on you down because you failed to raise the money needed to fulfill your mission.
- Location. Place your donate button at the top so it stands out. Ideally, in the upper right-hand corner. That’s where people will look, as that’s become the custom.
- Color. Make your donate button a color that contrasts with your branding colors. Don’t make it so tasteful that it blends in with the woodwork.
- Shape. Try an irregular shape. One theory is call-to-action buttons in irregular shapes are subconsciously more appealing than regular rectangles and ovals. Just make sure it won’t be mistaken for a graphic element — so not too cutesy.
- Size. Make it big enough to be touched when folks are using a phone or tablet. It should be tappable by a thumb.
- Frequency. Put it on every page.
3. Tweak Your Donation Landing Page
The holiday giving season is no time for a generic donation landing page. If you’re not going to create a specific campaign landing page (for example, your software won’t allow it), at least do both of these:
- Tweak the copy to add a specific year-end call to action.
- Add visuals that match your campaign. They’re worth 1,000 words and will stick with the donor, reinforcing the message of your appeal. Images are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text, and people have an attention span of eight seconds. So, it just makes sense!
4. Take Over Your Homepage
There’s nothing more important to your visitors on certain days of the year (e.g., Giving Tuesday, Dec. 25 to Dec. 31) than giving. So why not make your appeal the centerpiece of your homepage on those days?
5. Consider a Lightbox
The form-based box that pops up over a website with a call to action is called a lightbox (or splash page). It generally pops up the first time folks come to you site during the period for which you set it up. Perhaps just for one day on Giving Tuesday or during the four-to-six-week timeframe that you’re running your year-end campaign.
You can tinker with how often a visitor might be shown the lightbox. You might find them annoying, but they work. Conversion rates go up because more people see your call to action.
6. Add an Email Signature
Adding an email signature is one of the easiest things you can do to share your campaign broadly. Simply include a link to your donation page in your email signature. While you’re at it, include connections to social media sites and maybe even a thank-you video!
Don’t just have development staff do this. Ask everyone — staff, board and other volunteers — to share the love.
7. Improve Mobile Responsiveness
Make sure your website, donation landing page and email are easy to read and use on smartphones. More than half of your would-be supporters will open your appeal on mobile devices first. If they can’t find what they want, or it’s too hard to navigate, many won’t return.
8. Make Sure Your Ask Is Donor-Centered
This is super important. Don’t say “It’s annual giving time again, so please make a gift.” Make the ask about your donor, not about you or your organization. Don’t say “Give to our Giving Tuesday campaign.” or “Help us meet our fundraising goal.” or “Our deadline is tonight.” These asks are all about you and your process.
Donors don’t care about your monetary goals or deadlines. They care about what they can do to make a specific impact. Use action words to encourage them to help, heal, rescue, save and change the world in a manner near and dear to their hearts. Not yours.
You’ve still got time.
If you like craft fairs, baseball games, art openings, vocal and guitar, and political conversation, you’ll like to hang out with Claire Axelrad. Claire, J.D., CFRE, will inspire you through her philosophy of philanthropy, not fundraising. After a 30-year development career that earned her the AFP “Outstanding Fundraising Professional of the Year” award, Claire left the trenches to begin her coaching/teaching practice, Clairification. Claire is also a featured expert and chief fundraising coach for Bloomerang, She’ll be your guide, so you can be your donor’s guide on their philanthropic journey. A member of the California State Bar and graduate of Princeton University, Claire currently resides in San Francisco.