The end of the year can be a nerve-wracking time for a nonprofit. It’s the time that the most fundraising activity takes place and the majority of donors make gifts. What happens if your fundraising programs don’t perform as well as in the past? Do you have enough activities to generate the support you need? Are you worried that there are too many activities and your supporters will be overwhelmed with all the fundraising appeals they get? End of year fundraising is crucial to the health of your nonprofit so you know it’s important to adjust your fundraising during this season. But when you’re hip-deep in the flurry of activities, being able to make a quick adjustment, tweak your programs, or even implement a new one in record time seems like an impossible task.
I hear these concerns from clients engaged in Fundraising Coaching and there are a few things that you can do to make sure this fundraising season is the best ever. Here are three strategies you can implement at your cause to increase your end of year fundraising that won’t wear out your donors, exhaust your volunteers, or strain your staff.
1. Do a preview/overview
Does your cause have a packed calendar during the holiday season? Do you have newsletters, holiday cards, events, appeals, invitations, and even more events on deck to go out to your supporters? Build excitement, and increase participation by giving your supporters a preview of what’s coming up. Create a place where people can see all of your upcoming activities in one area. A calendar at a glance, an insiders blog article, a landing page will all work to whet your supporters appetites (and save dates) for what’s to come. Be sure to include behind-the-scenes snippets of the preparations.
2. Double down in your end of year fundraising programs
Give your fundraising a shot of adrenaline by emphasizing participation. If you have a monthly giving program make a special holiday initiative to double the monthly gift for the holidays. “Bring a friend” is a fun way to double up on participation. “Make a gift and give a gift” is a great way for your supporters to honor someone they love.
3. Ask for the upgrade
With all the end of year fundraising activities that are going on, supporters tend to send gifts for each appeal. When you add the gifts together the amount of support is often greater than your donors may be aware. This offers a great opportunity to help your donors “round up” their gifts to the next giving level. Run a quick report that shows the total cumulative amount per donor and ask for the difference to the next giving level. A twist on this approach that is fun to implement is to create gift levels to recognize donors for their overall participation across all your holiday fundraising programs. Let your supporters know how to reach the next gift level before the end of the season.
Make it easy to manage your end of the year fundraising by having fun. Wrap these strategies in entertaining and festive messages. Make competitions for participation, invite people to give “Gift Cards” from your cause to their friends, or have holiday themed incentives.
When you are in the thick of things, with a little bit of creativity and an eye on your programs, you can adjust your end of year fundraising strategies to ensure that your cause has the best end of year fundraising season yet.