…by starting early! If you’re reading this in December we won’t tell you to stop, but these tips are meant to jumpstart your campaign by starting your planning in the summer months. Let’s go:
- Circle a start date (and make it before December). Give to the Max Day is November 15 in 2018, but the donation portal opens on November 1. Consider starting your campaign then. If you use this as a general kickoff, you’ll have plenty of time left for more targeted, personalized outreach before year’s end.
- Start telling your story now. Even if you don’t officially kick off your campaign today, you can begin laying the groundwork. Will you be fundraising at year’s end for a specific program? Get people acquainted now, through periodic social media posts highlighting the program’s impact.
- Avoid overlap. We often hear about organizations that schedule more than one campaign late in the year. Be sure to communicate with others in your organization so you aren’t mixing your messages. Talk about this now so that you don’t paint yourselves into a corner come December.
- Rethink snail mail. A paper mailing might be right for you—or it might not. If you have the data, take some time this summer to tally up your giving from last year. Did fewer people write checks? If so, your donors might be tipping toward online giving, making the labor, time, and cost of a traditional mailing not so worth it. If online giving seems the best path for you, consider scaling back on snail mail by prioritizing your biggest givers—then personalize their letters with a handwritten note. While you’re at it, consider hand-addressing the envelopes, because who does that anymore? This will set your letter apart.
- Gauge your goal. Do some quick analysis of previous year-end campaign results, your current donor base, and what seems realistic for this year. We often see organizations cut corners and set a somewhat random goal, under- or over-shooting what makes the most sense.
- Think outside the cash box. Do you have other campaigns you could schedule during year’s end? Given the volume of donation-based asks around the holidays and new year, you might stand out with a different approach, then shift your fundraising appeal to a less competitive time of year.
When it comes time to launch your campaign, keep a few things in mind:
- Separate yourself. Your cause is competing with dozens of worthy others. Amid the noise of colliding campaigns, here’s a subject line NOT to use in one of your emails: “Support us this holiday season!” Instead, make it unique, make it specific, make it stand out. People will notice, if only due to predictable subject line fatigue.
- Axe the tax ask. We see lots of appeals leading with year-end tax deductions as the key benefit to giving. Tie your ask to the impact your work makes for the people you serve.
- Repetition is your friend. Especially when sharing your campaign on social media, repeating yourself is underrated. For far more details and tips on getting started, scheduling, launching, and sustaining your campaign, check out these resources:
• Network for Good’s Step-By-Step Guide to Fundraising Campaigns
• Classy’s Campaign Field Guide (3-Part Series)