Most of you are about ready to launch your year-end appeal. We have many ways to reach out to our donors – by mail, email, social media, phone calls. But your fundraising campaign will be more effective if you use a combination of these.
Some donors may respond to your direct mail piece, but donate online. Others will see your email message, but prefer to send a check. Some donors will respond to the first appeal, while others need a few reminders. This is why you need to go multi-channel.
BEFORE YOU START
Clean up your mailing lists
If you haven’t already done so, clean up and organize your mailing lists.
Make it easy to donate online
It’s crucial to have a donation page that’s engaging and easy to use. Test all links in email messages and social media posts. The last thing you want is a donor contacting you about a broken link or having to hunt around on your website for the donation page.
Right before your appeal goes out, include a blurb on your homepage that your appeal is underway. Make sure your donate button is in a prominent place.
Consistency is key
Your messages need to be consistent across channels. Use the same story and call to action in direct mail, email, and on your website.
Everything you send out needs to look like it’s coming from the same organization.
Which channels do your donors use?
Don’t spend a lot of time on channels your donors aren’t using. Figure out in advance where you want to focus your efforts.
SAMPLE SCHEDULE AND STRATEGY
Come up with a schedule of when the appeals will go out. I’ve created a sample schedule below. Of course, you can adjust the timeframe as needed.
Give your supporters a heads up by email and social media. Let them know that your year-end appeal is underway and they should receive a letter from you soon. Encourage them to donate online right now. This means your donation page needs to be in ship shape.
Week of October 27
Mail your appeal letter.
Week of November 3
Start sending out follow up reminders via email and social media. If possible, don’t send reminders to people who have already donated. Otherwise, be sure to thank your recent donors. You can even phrase your reminders as more of a thank you or an update.
Thanks so much to all of you who have donated to our year-end appeal. We’re almost halfway to our goal. If you haven’t donated yet, please help us out today by visiting our website (include a link to your donation page) or sending us a check (provide address).
Week of November 11
Send out another reminder. Your donors are busy and may need a gentle prompt. Keep it positive. Don’t make your donors feel bad about not donating.
Week of November 17
Start making reminder calls. If time is an issue, you could just call people who have donated before. That’s probably most effective.
Week of November 24
Send a Happy Thanksgiving message along with a friendly reminder. Share a success story in your appeal.
Week of December 1
December 2 is #GivingTuesday so you could tie that into your reminder.
The rest of December and beyond
Keep sending reminders throughout December. It’s tricky because you want to get your message across without being annoying. Continue to send your newsletter and other updates. You don’t want the only messages your donors receive to be fundraising appeals.
Network for Good recommends sending a fundraising email on December 27, 29, and 31. This is especially relevant if your fiscal year ends on December 31 or your donor wants to give before the end of the calendar year.
Look to see who hasn’t contributed yet. Concentrate on people who are most likely to donate, such as past donors. Also, keep track of how many donors come through each channel.
We live in a multi-channel world. Take time to plan your strategy to ensure a successful year-end campaign.
Here’s a great resource to help you with your multi-channel fundraising.
Image by Daniel Iverson