Once is Not Enough

I imagine many of you have sent out your year-end appeal within the last few weeks. Are the donations pouring in? Maybe not, but don’t worry yet.


Even though the end of the year is when most nonprofits see the highest level of giving, it’s also a busy time for your donors.

Once is not enough and you need to follow up with friendly reminders. In most cases, you will use a multi-channel approach. This is contingent on the type of contact information you have and what channels your donors use. 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.


Here are some ways to follow up with your donors.

By email
Email is often the easiest way to get your message across to a large number of people. You probably have email addresses for most of your supporters.


Send friendly reminders once a week. At the end of December, send 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 social media. Provide updates and thank your donors. You can post reminders several times a week, but if you don’t have that many followers, you’ll 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 good opportunity to thank your donors. Leaving a message is fine, but be sure to include 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.

#GivingTuesday
#GivingTuesday is December 3 and this is a great opportunity to remind your donors.  Find ways you can incorporate #GivingTuesday into your follow up plan.


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 sending follow-up reminders makes a difference.

Photo by Phil Scoville via Flickr
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