Make #GivingTuesday More Than Just a Giving Day

Image result for giving tuesday logo 2018I’m sure you’ve all heard of #GivingTuesday, the annual giving day that takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This year it will be on November 27.

Perhaps you’ve participated in the past and it’s been successful, or maybe it wasn’t. Perhaps you’re planning to participate for the first time.

Whether you participate or not, #GivingTuesday is now part of the nonprofit landscape and if you’re doing a year-end appeal, you’ll need to factor it into your campaign.

I’m not a huge fan of #GivingTuesday or any giving days, for that matter, because they focus too much on getting donations. Many of these donors are first-time donors who don’t give again. That may be because they were drawn into whatever gimmicks the organizations were using to get donations and/or the organizations failed to build relationships afterward.

I have a few suggestions to help make #GivingTuesday more successful or how to navigate around it if you’re not participating in it.

Is #GivingTuesday working for you?

If you’ve run a campaign in the past, check to see if people who gave the year before gave again. Go back as far as you can to check retention rates.

Also, who is donating on #GivingTuesday? Are they brand new donors or current donors who choose to donate on that day?

Focus on relationship building

Never miss an opportunity to build relationships, whether you’re reaching out to new donors or following up with current ones. Keep your appeal donor-centered. Thank current donors and find a way to make a connection with potential donors.

I realize the purpose of a fundraising appeal is to ask for donations, but don’t forget to build relationships, too. Again, the problem with most #GivingTuesday appeals is they’re focused too much on getting donations.

Use #GivingTuesday as a way to follow up with your donors

If you don’t want to launch a full #Giving Tuesday campaign (understandable), it can be a great opportunity to follow up with people who haven’t donated to your year-end appeal. You should be doing regular reminders, anyway.

Send email and social media messages before and on #Giving Tuesday encouraging people to donate. You can use the #Giving Tuesday logos, etc. Obviously, you’ll want to keep following up with anyone who didn’t donate on #GivingTuesday.

Keep in mind your donors will be barraged with email and social media messages on #GivingTuesday. Make yours stand out and be prepared to keep following up.

How about #GratitudeTuesday instead?

Maybe you’ll decide to bypass #GivingTuesday all together and make it a day to show some gratitude to your donors.

A New Approach to Giving Tuesday: Be different and stand out from the crowd

Attitude of Gratitude: A Different Kind of Giving Tuesday

Remember that your donors may not see your messages that day so send some #donorlove on other days around that time, such as Thanksgiving.

Donors are going to get a lot of appeals from you at year-end so you also want to use this time to communicate in ways in which you’re not asking for money.

Don’t forget to say thank you

Speaking of showing gratitude, your donors should be feeling the love right after they make their donation.

Make sure you have an engaging thank you landing page and thank you email for your online donors. You could even create ones especially for #GivingTuesday. Then you need to follow that with a phone call, handwritten note, or thank you letter.

Send welcome packets to new donors or welcome back messages to current donors.

#GivingTuesday has a transactional feel to it, although it doesn’t need to. Go the extra mile and do a good job of thanking these donors – both right after they’ve made their donation and throughout the year.

5 creative ways to thank #GivingTuesday donors

5 Ways to Thank Your #GivingTuesday Donors

How did you do?  

When this year’s #GivingTuesday is over, make a plan to measure your results, whether you do a full campaign, a follow-up, or a thank you fest. Was it worth the time and effort?

I think you’ll find that your #GivingTuesday campaign, or any fundraising campaign, will be more successful if you focus on more than just the giving part. And a big part of a successful campaign is getting repeat donations.

Tips for Keeping New Donors After a Giving Day

3 Ways to Turn #GivingTuesday Donors Into Year-Round Supporters

 

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Incorporating Monthly Giving Into Your Fundraising

Image via Bloomerang

Most of you are getting ready to launch your year-end appeal if you haven’t already done so. I hope your organization also has a monthly/recurring giving program. If you don’t, you’re missing out on a great way to raise more money and receive a constant stream of revenue throughout the year.

Plus, monthly giving will raise your retention rate. According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, the retention rate for monthly donors is 90%. These donors are committed to your organization!

To keep things simple, I’m going to use the term monthly giving, but you should offer your donors other options, such as quarterly giving.

How to get started

If you don’t already have a monthly giving program, try to set one up before your year-end appeal and let your donors know about it. If that’s not possible, make it one of your first New Year’s resolutions for 2019.

Setting up a monthly giving program will take a little work up front but will pay off in the end. Mention it in your appeal letters and make it a prominent option on your donation page.

Some organizations’ donation pages aren’t set up for monthly giving. I experienced this recently when I tried to make a donation. If I wanted to make a recurring gift, I had to contact the organization and in the interest of time, I chose a one-time gift.

Make it easy for everyone and set up a monthly giving option on your donation page.

Quick Tips to Create a Great Monthly Giving Program

Invite your current donors to become monthly donors

One way to get monthly donors is to ask your current donors to switch to monthly giving. Send targeted appeals to donors who have given at least twice. These donors have already shown you their commitment.

Let them know how much you appreciate their support and invite them to join your family of monthly donors. Show them how their $50 or $100 gift is helping you make a difference and how they can help even more with gifts of $5 or $10 a month.

Monthly donors get their own special appeal

If you already have monthly donors, send them a special appeal. Don’t send them a generic appeal that doesn’t recognize that they’re monthly donors. You should be personalizing and segmenting all your appeal letters, anyway.

Thank them for being a monthly donor and let them know you couldn’t do your work without their continued support. Politely ask monthly donors who’ve supported you for at least six months if they can upgrade their gift.

Monthly donors also get their own thank you letters

Not only do monthly donors get their own thank you letters, handwritten notes, or phone calls, you need separate letters for brand new monthly donors and current single-gift donors who’ve become monthly donors. I covered this in a recent post.

 Take Thanking Your Donors to the Next Level

Don’t shortchange your monthly donors with a generic thank you letter.

I make most of my donations monthly. The thank yous I receive range from pretty good to dreadful to nonexistent.

Some organizations will send a monthly acknowledgment by email. I don’t mind these because it lets me know my donation was charged. Often I get the same boring email each month with an equally sleep-inducing subject line such as Subsequent Sustaining Thank You. One organization uses the subject line You Are AMAZING, which is pretty amazing, and rare.

Since your donors have committed to donating every month, show them the same courtesy by communicating with them at least once a month. Those generic thank you emails don’t count.

You could send an e-mail update and at least a couple of updates by mail. Show your donors how they’re helping you make difference in your updates. Share a story or give specific examples.

A few ways I’ve seen organizations recognize their monthly donors are by giving them a special shout out in their newsletter, thanking them in their annual report, and inviting them to take a tour of the organization. Other ideas include an open house, a thank you video, a thank you postcard, and a handwritten note. Whatever you do, keep in touch throughout the year.

Pay attention to your monthly donors

All donors are special, but monthly donors are extra special because they’ve made this commitment to you. Therefore, you’re doing a huge disservice when you don’t recognize them for who they are. You can send requests for an additional single gift but not without thanking them for their monthly support.

Speaking of paying attention, you need to keep track of when a donor’s gift is about to expire. One way to avoid that is to not include an expiration option on your donation page. But that only solves part of the problem because credit cards have expiration dates. Don’t rely on your donors to keep track of this. They’re busy and have a lot of other things to worry about.

Set up a system where you can flag credit card expiration dates. A month ahead of time, send your donors a friendly reminder letting them know it’s time to renew their monthly donation. You can also ask for an upgrade and, of course, thank them. If you don’t do this, you’ll lose money and you’re showing your donors you don’t care because you’re not paying attention to them.

What Can You Do If Your Monthly Donors’ Payments Are Not Coming In?

Monthly giving is a proven way to raise more money and improve donor retention. I hope you’ll take the time to start or grow a monthly giving program for your organization.

Monthly giving resources

 

Are You Doing Better in 2018?

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It’s hard to believe we’re more than halfway through 2018. It doesn’t seem like that long ago I wrote this post –  How to Do Better in 2018

I hope your fundraising and communications are going well so far this year. Are they going well? Are you even paying attention to how things are going?

Let’s revisit that post from the beginning of the year. If things are going well for you, great. If not, I have some suggestions on how to do better, and for everyone – how to gear up for year-end.

Evaluate and plan

Are you meeting your goals so far? If not, do you a have a plan in place to get there? If you never made a fundraising plan for 2018, stop right there and put one together now.

Do’s and Don’ts for Your Annual Fundraising Plan

If you’re falling short of your fundraising goals, you may need to ramp up your year-end campaign. Also, your event may not be worth the trouble or you’re seeking out the wrong grant funders.

Spend Time Actually PLANNING to Raise More Money for Your Cause

Figure out your retention rate

Donor retention rates tend to be low. Do you know yours? If you’re behind in your fundraising, you may be losing donors. Figure out your retention rate now.

Retention rates are not that hard to fix, but you need to work at it. Better communication is often the key. More on how you can do a better job communicating with your donors later in the post.

6 Tactics for Increasing Donor Retention

Get in touch with your lapsed donors

Did you ever get in touch with people who didn’t give to your year-end appeal? Before this year’s campaign, figure out who didn’t give a year ago, but has donated in the last two or three years. Send them a special targeted letter telling them you miss them and want them back.

Then make a plan do the same thing in January for anyone who didn’t give. Here you could follow up with a phone call or email. This could help you raise additional revenue.

5 ways to win back your lapsed donors

Start or enhance your monthly giving program

A monthly or recurring giving program is a great way to raise more money. If you don’t have one, plan to promote monthly giving in your next campaign. To get more monthly donors, send a special targeted letter to current donors inviting them to become monthly donors.

Once someone has become a monthly donor, they should get their own appeal letter. One in which you thank them for being a monthly donor and politely ask them to increase their gift this year. Don’t send them a letter that asks for a one-time gift.

Other mistakes organizations make with their monthly giving program are not paying attention if a donor’s gift expires and doing a poor job of thanking their monthly donors.

You’ll notice I’ve made several recommendations to segment your appeal letters. This shows your donors you know who they are and should help you raise more money.

Do a better job of thanking your donors

Most organizations don’t do a good job of thanking their donors. Perhaps they send a nice letter after they receive a donation, although that’s wishful thinking. But the donor love usually comes to a screeching halt after that.

Thanking donors is something you need to do throughout the year. Create a thank you plan to help you with this.

A few things you should do before your year-end campaign. Take a look at your current thank you letter. If it’s not gushing with gratitude, write a new one. This goes for your thank you landing page and email acknowledgment, too. Make sure your letter is ready to go at the same time you launch your appeal. Don’t treat it as an afterthought and send something a month after you receive a donation. You’ll get gold stars if you can throw handwritten cards and/or phone calls into the mix, too. Finally, send a special thank you sometime early this fall. This could be a handwritten note or a postcard with an update. Something by mail is best, but if that’s impossible, you could send email.

Stay in touch throughout the year

This is another problem area. Many organizations go AWOL unless they’re asking for donations. It’s Kind of Quiet Out There Some send newsletters and updates, but these are often boring and focused too much on how great the organization is.

I know you’ll be busy, but you need to communicate more with your donors as you gear up for your year-end appeal. What’s In My Mailbox | How are you *warming up* your donors? You want to be on your donors’ good side come donation time.

Also, take a look at your newsletter and other donor communication. Are you leading with a story and focusing on how your donors are helping you make a difference?

You still have time to do better

If you’re falling short of your goals, you still have time to do better, but you have to work at it. Year-end is, of course, a great opportunity to raise money, as well as build relationships.

Be sure to keep evaluating your progress to help ensure a successful 2018.

 

Why is it So Hard to be Donor-Centered?

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The term donor-centered is pretty self-explanatory. It means focusing on your donors’ needs and interests, acknowledging them in your letters and other communication, and taking into account that not all donors are the same.

If it’s so obvious, then why are many nonprofits so bad at it? You see countless examples of generic, organization-centered communication that barely acknowledges the donor.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Before you send your next appeal, thank you letter, or newsletter, run it through this donor-centered checklist.

Fundraising Appeals

  • Is your fundraising appeal focused too much on your organization – rambling on about how great you are? Your organization may be great, but let your donors figure that out. Your donors are the ones who are great, and they want to hear how they can help you make a difference for the people/community you serve.
  • Is your appeal segmented to the appropriate audience? Thank past donors or reference your relationship to a potential donor. Maybe they’re event attendees, volunteers, or friends of board members.
  • Is your appeal addressed to a person and not Dear Friend?
  • Is your appeal vague, impersonal, and filled with jargon your donors won’t understand? Don’t say we’re helping underserved members of the community. A donor-centered appeal would say something like – With your support, we can help low-income families find affordable housing.
  • Does your appeal make people feel good about donating to your organization?

Thank you letters

  • Does your thank you letter come across as transactional and resemble a receipt? Yes, you need to acknowledge the donation is tax deductible, etc, but most donors are more concerned about how their gift made a difference.
  • Does your thank you letter (or better yet, a handwritten note) shower your donors with love?  Start your letter with You’re amazing or Thanks to You!, and not On behalf of X organization.
  • Are you telling your donors the impact of their gift?  For example – Thanks to your generous donation of $50, a local family can get a box of groceries at the Eastside Community Food Bank.
  • Do you recognize each donor?  Is this the first time someone has donated?  If someone donated before, did she increase her gift?  Acknowledge this in your letter/note.

Newsletters

  • Does your newsletter sound self-promotional and focus on all the wonderful things your organization is doing instead of showing your donors how they’re helping you make a difference?
  • Is your newsletter written in the second person? Write to the donor and use the word you more often than we. How to Perform the “You” Test for Donor-Centered Communications – Do You Pass?  BTW, all your donor communication should be written in the second person. It’s much more personal.
  • Does your newsletter include success stories, engaging photos, and other content your donors like to see?
  • Are you using the right channels?  Perhaps you only send an e-newsletter, but some of your donors prefer print.
  • Are you showing gratitude to your donors in your newsletter?

Always think of your donors first

Use this checklist for other donor communication such as annual reports (these are rarely donor-centered), your website, and social media posts.

Make sure the messages you send to your donors focus on them and make them feel special. Staying donor-centered can help you build relationships. This is especially important as retention rates continue to plummet.

Read on for more information on the importance of being donor-centered.

3 Ways A Donor Centric Pledge Can Improve Your Retention

How to Create a Donor-Centered Fundraising Letter

3 Steps to a Donor-Centered Communication Strategy

 

One-and-Done Fundraising is Just March Madness

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In college basketball, players are allowed to turn pro after playing one season. This is known as one-and-done. If you watch the NCAA tournament (aka March Madness), it’s likely many of the players won’t be around next year.

Like it or not, it looks like one-and-done will be the norm in college basketball for a while. Another place where one-and-done seems to be the norm is in nonprofit fundraising. According to The Fundraising Effectiveness Report, the retention rate for first-time donors is 23%. It’s been consistently bad for the last several years.

We need to stop hemorrhaging donors. Here are a few ways to avoid having your fundraising go the one-and-done route.

Pay attention to your donor retention

If you don’t know your retention rate, figure that out now. A Guide to Donor Retention Most likely you’re losing donors because you’re either not communicating enough or communicating poorly. Fortunately, this is something you can fix.

Donor loyalty is also important

What you want are high-quality donors who will support you for a long time. You can have the best donor relations program in the world, but that won’t guarantee you’ll keep every donor, although you should keep many more than you would if you do nothing.

Many organizations spend all this time and energy on acquiring donors, concentrating more on volume and don’t seem to be concerned that they’re churning through different donors year after year.

Send welcome packets to new donors, but show the love to your valuable long-time donors, too.  Send them a welcome back letter. I’ve donated to several organizations for a number of years, and it bothers me when they don’t acknowledge that.

Given the lousy retention rates, don’t take it for granted when donors support you for more than one year. Otherwise, you could be looking at two-and-through.

Pay attention to your donors. Who’s supported you for three, five, or even ten years? Go the extra mile for these loyal donors. This takes more work, but it will pay off in the long run.

Want to Keep Your Donors? Then Answer These Unspoken Questions

5 Ways to Build and Strengthen Donor Loyalty

There’s no off-season

Continuing on the sports theme, most athletes train during the off-season and some even play in leagues. You may be between fundraising campaigns, but that doesn’t mean you can take much of a break.

Keep connecting with your donors. You can’t ignore them. Here are some ways to show appreciation and stay in touch throughout the year.

All You Need is #DonorLove

Stay in Touch Throughout the Year by Using a Communications Calendar

One-and-done is not something you want in your fundraising. Make sure your donors stick with you for a long time.

5 Tips to Boost Your Mobile Donor Engagement Levels

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By John Killoran

Donor engagement success is the backbone of so many of your outreach, fundraising, and general strategies so it’s not surprising that it can make or break your mobile fundraising efforts, too.

Engaging your donors through mobile avenues can be a tricky feat so it needs to be thoughtfully considered and examined. You’ll need to know your donors and your organization through and through in order to boost your donor engagement.

Luckily, we’ve crafted 5 tips to take your mobile donor engagement to the next level! Check them out:

  1. Know your donors’ preferred mobile giving method.
  2. Determine the best times to connect with your supporters.
  3. Recognize mobile donation trends.
  4. Send out a survey on your mobile strategies.
  5. Keep your mobile strategies cause-oriented.

If you’re ready to engage and retain your donors through your mobile fundraising and outreach, then let’s dive in!

AP_AnnGreen_Know-your-donors-preferred-mobile-giving-method

1. Know your donors’ preferred mobile giving method.

The better you know your donors, the better you can cater your outreach and fundraising strategies to them and see more instant success.

You can look at your data from previous mobile giving campaigns to know which mobile giving methods your donors like the best.

If you’ve stored this donor data in your donor management or CRM solution, it’ll be easy to find and use, making this an effortless step.

For example, if two of your donors loved donating through your text-to-give solution, you’ll know to send them a text and pique their interest in donating that way again.

On the other hand, if you have a donor who only likes giving through your online donation page, you’ll know to include that donor in your upcoming email campaign that links back to your donation form.

The bottom line: Knowing your donors’ preferences shows them that you value their support and their comfort levels. Be sure to connect supporters with their favorite mobile giving methods.

Bonus! Check out @Pay’s Text-to-Give Guide to learn everything you and your supporters need to know about text giving.

AP_AnnGreen_Determine-the-best-times-to-connect-with-your-supporters

2. Determine the best times to connect with your supporters.

You’ll also want to turn to your data to determine the best times to interact with your supporters through mobile methods.

You’ll notice most people check social media around noon every day during their lunch break and 6pm on weekdays when they get home from work. That being said, content posted at 12 PM is more likely to have a high amount of views than something posted at 10 AM would.

You’ll want to think about best times for checking social media and peak times for sending emails.

Your organization can also take a look at when your nonprofit website sees the most traffic. This will come in handy so you can coordinate when you send out emails that include a link to your online donation form.

If most people are viewing your site at 7 PM on weeknights, you might schedule your emails to deliver around the same time to encourage even more traffic to your website at the most convenient time for your donors.

The bottom line: You’ll want to interact with your constituents at the best times for them in order to strengthen donor relationships and encourage more donations.

AP_AnnGreen_Recognize-mobile-donation-trends

3. Recognize mobile donation trends.

Now that you know the best times for your organization to reach out to your supporters, you’ll want to figure out some other imperative details like the following:

  • How often they donate to your organization
  • The average amount they give
  • When they have previously donated
  • Which device they like to give from

You might even be able to estimate details about your donors from trends formed by their giving habits.

For example, if your donor gives $20 through text-to-give once a month, you may assume they’re a millennial because millennials are more likely to use text-giving than their parents are.

You won’t want to judge completely based off of their giving trends, however, so don’t forget to do your research on different donors.

You can also add other information fields to learn more about your donors, catering each field to what’s important to your specific nonprofit. For example, you can easily know donors’ ages by adding an optional birthdate information field on your online donation form, but you can also add more personal details like dietary preferences to help plan stewardship events.

With this information on your side, you may even be able to predict when your supporters will donate again because past giving is a great indicator of future giving. Take into consideration donations your supporters have made to other nonprofits, as well, to help find the pattern in their giving history.

The bottom line: Researching your constituents’ mobile donation trends can help you cater your fundraising asks and overall engagement to their liking. Remember that timing is everything and you’ll need to be strategic about when you reach out to donors so you don’t overwhelm them.

AP_AnnGreen_Send-out-a-survey-on-your-mobile-strategies

4. Send out a survey for your mobile strategies.

Take into consideration that your donors are crucial elements to your nonprofit’s fundraising, which directly supports your nonprofit’s projects to further your mission.

Your donors are the backbone of your financial support so they’re incredibly important and should be treated as such! Ask your guests for feedback by offering surveys regarding your mobile strategies.

Make sure this survey is short and sweet so it doesn’t take up too much of their time. With the data from these surveys, your organization can see where your mobile outreach and fundraising event methods fell short and where they excelled.

Learning your supporters’ opinions and preferences will help you reshape your mobile strategies to cater to them. This way, you’re optimizing your mobile methods for the most success, whether that be for online fundraising or for strengthening your donor relationships.

Plus, asking your donors for their thoughts on your mobile strategies will prove that you value their opinions and look forward to incorporating their feedback, which is an act of donor stewardship in itself.

You can easily add links to your survey throughout your mobile strategies. For example, within emails, you can include a hyperlink that will redirect donors to your survey. You can do the same for text giving. It’s also important to include your survey on your website so it’s always accessible for donors who want to submit feedback.

The bottom line: Sending out a survey to give your donors a voice and input into your organization proves that you value their opinions and gives you easy ways to reshape your strategies to their liking.

AP_AnnGreen_Keep-your-mobile-strategies-cause-oriented

5. Keep your mobile strategies cause-oriented.

While it’s easy to get swept up in your multi-channeled fundraising or outreach hustle, it’s important to remember that it’s all about your cause.

Keep in mind that donors were originally drawn to your nonprofit organization because they support your cause, which is what you’re ultimately trying to further!

There are a few easy ways to keep your mobile strategies cause-oriented:

  • Focus on your mission statement. Supporters can easily identify your organization’s morals and values through your mission statement and it’s most likely one of the details that will be commonly known throughout your donor base.
  • Always tell donors where their donations are going. No matter what your project is, your organization should sit down and determine where raised funds will really be going. If you’re building a shelter, for example, a $25 donation might go toward nails and hammers whereas a $500 donation would go toward internal plumbing fixtures like a sink.
  • Give your supporters updates. Your supporters are investing in your projects and cause so they’ll want to know how everything is progressing. You can easily send them updates through email or even through text! When communicating through text, you’ll want to make sure to do so sparingly so you don’t overwhelm your donors. You might try sending them a text to sign up for your emails and then simply update them through that channel.

Keeping it cause-oriented reassures your donors that your organization’s heart is in the right place, strengthening your relationship, and perhaps even encouraging larger donations!

The bottom line: Your mobile strategies should always be cause-oriented. Remember to emphasize how much your supporters can help to further your cause and where their money will be put to good use!

Now that you have our top 5 tips to take your mobile donor engagement to the next level, there’s nothing holding you back from forming strong, reliable relationships with your supporters. All that’s left to do is revamp your mobile strategies and get to stewarding!

John Killoran is CEO of @Pay, an exciting new fundraising technology that makes it easy for people to donate in two clicks from text, email, web, and social media sites. John pioneered SMTP payments and has been a major innovator in the mobile payments space for the past 5 years. When he is not running a company, he is cooking food for his family and telling his dogs to stop barking. John Killoran

Stay in Touch Throughout the Year by Using a Communications Calendar

37251899914_2155c24033_mDonor retention continues to be a problem and one of the reasons is poor communication. Nonprofits don’t communicate with their donors enough. Sometimes the only time we hear from organizations is when they’re asking for donations.

You must communicate with your donors at least once or twice a month throughout the year. If you’re getting stressed out wondering how you’re going to pull this off, then you need a communications calendar (also known as an editorial calendar).

I like the term communications calendar because it emphasizes the importance of communicating with your donors and other supporters all-year-round.

This is not just a job for your marketing department. All departments need to work together. Figure out what information you need to share and when to share it. You want a consistent stream of information – not three emails in one day and nothing for three weeks.

As you put together your communications calendar, think about how you will use different channels and which audience(s) should receive your messages. You may only send direct mail a few times a year, but send an e-newsletter once a month and communicate by social media several times a week. You’ll often use a number of different channels when you send a fundraising appeal or promote an event.

Start big by looking at the entire year and then break it down by months and weeks. You’ll keep adding to your communications calendar throughout the year.

While this post is primarily about setting up a communications calendar, you also have to share content your donors will be interested in. I’ll write more about that in future posts.

Here are some categories you can use in your communications calendar. Some items will be time sensitive and others won’t be.

Events

Does your organization hold any events? Besides your events, are there other events in your community that would be of interest to your supporters? This is a great thing to share on social media.

Legislation

Advocacy alerts are a wonderful way to engage with your supporters. Be on the lookout for any federal or state legislation that’s relevant to your organization. Encourage people to contact their legislators about an issue or a bill. Then report back to them with any updates, and thank them for getting involved.

Time of year

Is there something going on during a particular month that’s pertinent to your organization? Perhaps it’s homelessness or mental health awareness month.

Thanksgiving, the holidays, and winter can be a difficult time for some people. How can you weave that into a good story to share with your supporters?  In addition, think of creative ways to connect at other times of the year such as Valentine’s Day, spring, and back-to-school time.

News stories

There’s a lot going on in the news these days. You won’t be able to predict news stories in advance. However, if there’s a hot item in the news that’s relevant to the work you do, that could be something to share or use as an example of how you’re helping to make a difference for the people/community you serve.

Fundraising and recruitment

Be sure to add your fundraising appeals to your communications calendar. You want to highlight these and not inundate your donors with a lot of other information at that time.

If your organization has specific times it needs to recruit volunteers, add that to your calendar, as well.

Thank your donors

This is crucial! Find different ways to let your donors know how much you appreciate them. Do this at least once a month.

Ongoing content

If you’re making a difference, you have stories to tell. Share a story at least once a month. Client success stories (either in the first or third person) are best. You could also profile a board member, volunteer, donor, or staff member. Be sure to highlight what drew them to your organization.

Create a story bank to help you with this.

Keep it up

As you hear about other relevant information, add it to your calendar so you can stay connected with your donors/supporters throughout the year.

Here is more information to help you create a communications/editorial calendar, along with a couple of templates.

How to Create a Nonprofit Editorial Calendar

The Power of a Donor Communications Calendar

Evergreen Editorial Calendar

Editorial Calendars – Resources for You