4 Year-End Fundraising Marketing Essentials
“Please” and “thank you,” as well as addressing others directly, are important interpersonal social skills. They are also vital fundraising marketing basics, and something to think about for year-end campaigns. Stewarding donors is a process. Nonprofits must keep donors and prospective donors informed of their work, ask them to please support the cause and — like our parents taught us — say “thank you”.
In line with campaigns throughout the year, end-of-year marketing campaigns should focus on an organization’s mission and stay true to its branding. It is, however, OK to include holiday and tax-benefit messaging. Messages should be a combination of fundraising and friend-raising.
1. Is Your Website Ready for Visitors?
Now is the time to start. Is your website up to date and ready to accept donations easily? Having an engaging and attractive donation form that is easy to navigate and has photos can elicit a more involved and generous donor. It should also offer an option for recurring gifts.
When donors and prospective donors are personally directed with a link to donate from an email or direct mailer, send them to a customized landing page, aka personal URL (PURL), to welcome each donor by name and offer giving-level choices in line with their giving history. Their previous gift can be the lowest choice with denominations going up from there.
2. Segment Your Communications
When planning, be mindful of your budget, as well as where and how your target audience prefers to be reached. Whether you choose to use social media, emails, direct mail, paid advertising, text messaging, influencers or a combination, make sure the message is consistent across all channels and is as personal as possible. Segmenting your list and data merging emails and print campaigns are worth the effort.
And, if a picture can paint a thousand words, videos can paint infinite. Videos shared in emails, on social media, on YouTube or on your website can effectively portray what your organization does and increase traffic, leads, engagement and thus donations.
3. Match It
Offering a matching donation at year end allows your organization to take advantage of a strategic time as there is a set deadline that can boost interest and urgency to support your cause. This can be the overarching message for the last few weeks of the year, kicking off with the international GivingTuesday, celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the U.S. This year it is scheduled for Nov. 28. In 2022, $3.1 billion was raised just in the U.S. Participate and claim your portion.
4. Plan Your Comms Calendar
If you haven’t already, you should have shared a story about your organization’s success a week ago and alerted viewers that Giving Tuesday is approaching. On Thanksgiving or the day before, you should have sent a heartfelt holiday message. In line with what your nonprofit does, it could be a gratitude message from a pediatric patient at the hospital or recipient of the food bank, a “thank you” to donors, doctors, nurses and your professional staff, or from your organization’s executive director or board. After two touch points and friend-raising, seize the day and share multiple messages on assorted channels on GivingTuesday.
For the next three weeks send out messages about your organization’s successes and remind them of highlights of the year as they may have missed them earlier and, of course, send holiday cheer. Holiday messages could include, as befits your nonprofit, a recipe from the soup kitchen or details on how to make dog biscuits. If you have corporate sponsors, offer them the opportunity to join you in the holiday wishes too. They could offer recipes using their products or discounts as a gift. Corporate sponsors support you because they believe in your mission and want to be seen positively by your target audience.
During the last week of the year, countdown to midnight on New Year’s, the deadline for charitable contribution tax deduction. Multiple messages can be disseminated to ask people to please support your mission monetarily. The approaching deadline can benefit you and them. And then thank everyone for the successes of the year. Make the donor the hero in the message as you could not have succeeded without them.
And don’t forget to plant seeds. Ask your audience to make volunteering their New Year’s resolution — almost all of those who volunteer also contribute.
The preceding blog was provided by an individual unaffiliated with NonProfit PRO. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of NonProfit PRO.
Related story: The Essential Year-End Fundraising Checklist
Mara Lassner is excited to serve as the director of communications at RAISE Nonprofit Advisors as there are so many worthy causes and this allows her to use her skills to advance and support their missions. She brings with her strategic planning, integrated marketing, writing and design skills honed while working with nonprofit and for-profit clients locally and internationally.
Her successes include conceptualizing the theme and honorees for highly successful annual campaigns and lookbooks, editing weekly industry newsletters, and curating articles, photo, and more for fundraising and friend-raising efforts. In an effort to achieve fiscal and environmental goals, Mara created and implemented an internal system for compiling and designing virtual and printed commemorative journals representing millions of dollars in contributions.
Mara is also managing and creative partner at Mara INK and was the director of public relations and advertising for 20 years at the Ramaz School and a media planner and account executive for blue-chip brands. She has partnered with many companies and organizations, including Miller Brewing Company, Prudential Financial, Avis, the Food Network, the Accessibility Accelerator, Care for Special Children, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun and The Propel Network.