Following Up On Your Annual Appeal

The giving season is here!  Many of you have sent out your annual appeal and the donations are coming in, but maybe not as quickly as you would like.  

Even though December is when most nonprofits see the highest level of donations, it’s also a very busy time for your donors.  That’s why you need to follow up with them.  If you haven’t already created a follow-up plan, here are few ways to do that.

In most cases, you will use a multi-channel approach.  This is contingent on the type of contact information you have.  You may not have email addresses or phone numbers for all your donors.

It’s also important to make your follow-up messages positive.  Don’t make your donors feel bad about not contributing yet.


By email
Email is usually the easiest way to get your message across to a large number of people.  Chances are you have email addresses for most of your supporters.

Send friendly reminders each week in December.  At the end of the month, send out messages a couple of times between December 27 and 31. 

If possible, only send email reminders to people who haven’t donated.  If you can’t do that, be sure to thank the people who have already donated.  Continue to share success stories. You can also give updates on your progress, if you have a goal and a deadline.

Your email reminder should include a link to your user-friendly donation page.

By social media
Post similar reminders on Facebook and Twitter.  Provide updates and thank your donors.  You can post reminders several times a week, but if you don’t have that many followers, you probably want to spend your time elsewhere. 

Again, include a link to your website to make donating easy.

By phone
Sometimes a quick phone reminder is all it takes to spark a donation.  It’s up to you if you want to call everyone who hasn’t donated.  Your best bet is to call people who have donated in the past, especially if they have given at a higher level.

This is also a great opportunity to thank your donors.  Leaving a message is fine, but be sure to leave a call back number and the link to your website.

By mail
In this case, you may want to target a few select groups.  If a mailing address is the only contact information you have for a donor, then you’ll want to send a follow-up letter.  You can also send letters to higher dollar donors.  Be sure to include a pledge form and return envelope.  Always make things easy for your donors.

It may seem like you are communicating a lot with your donors, and of course you need to be mindful of contacting them too much, but the year-end surge of email and other forms of communication really works. Is Your Year-End Communication Up To Snuff?


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