2020 is a very noisy year and it’s about to get a little louder. Mail in ballots, Return to Learn, and the ongoing pandemic are a lot to contend with for your year-end fundraising efforts. Want to ensure your letter – your year-end ask – gets heard?
Here are 7 musts that will help you rise above the noise at this year-end:
1 – Mail after the Election. For sure wait until after November 3 to drop your letter. Most states are expecting 10 times the amount of normal political mail. Add that with the mail in ballots this year, and your letter will for sure need to wait. Best case, drop between November 5 and 10.
2 – Major Gift Strategy. If I could write ten pages on this I would. Spend some time here and really plan ahead; start in August. Review your top 20 donors and determine if this is the best time to ask them and for what amount (and ask for that increase!). Are you in the middle of a campaign and feel like your campaign donors are off the hook for an ask? They aren’t. Remember that annual giving is king and quite often, your campaign gifts are above and beyond gifts. If that campaign donor gives an annual gift every year, keep asking for that annual gift every year!
3 – Board Involvement. There, I said it. Yes, board members, you need to play a part in this. It is quite possibly the easiest way for you to be a part of the fundraising process. Keep reading on for important job description. Review a mailing list at a board meeting and choose which donor letters you can hand write a note on. That’s it. No kidding. It will take about 10 minutes of your time.
4 – Segment and segment. In order to stand out, talk to your constituents like you know them. For instance, let’s say volunteers are a segment. Your ‘ask’ in the conclusion of the letter may sound like this, “Thank you for being such a valuable volunteer! We so appreciate the time you devote to our mission. Would you please consider a monetary gift at this year-end?” What other segments do you have? Recent event attendees, monthly donors, or lapsed donors? Speak to them like you know them!
5 – Send a follow up reminder postcard. Keep the theme of your appeal and drop this sometime in December to remind donors that ‘Hey – there is still time to donate!’ Your colorful postcard will stand out in the mailbox and should include a QR code or the URL for your donate page as well as how to send a check.
6 – eCommunication is not a standalone. Your eCommunication plan for your year-end appeal is meant to compliment your hard copy letter and reminder postcard. You can’t have one without the other. (“Love and Marriage” will not leave my head today I’m sure.) Also, think of Giving Tuesday as a step in your eCommunication plan. You may not have the staff to have a flown blown campaign for Giving Tuesday and that is a-ok. I would much rather your small staff spend significant time on the major donor strategy and your appeal revenue will thank me.
7 – Lastly, it will help to rise about the noise when you follow up and follow up well. For instance, utilize board members to make thank you calls. And please, please, please, update your thank you letter! Maybe even tell the rest of the story that was is in your actual appeal letter.
Bottom line: start planning now! It will take you time to segment and figure out your major donor strategy. And it will take time to have your board review (a limited!) list and sign notes.
If you need help with your year-end appeal process, please reach out to the team at Kennari Consulting! We want to make sure you have the most successful year-end possible!