December is a crucial month for your nonprofit. As Double the Donation points out, “30% of annual giving happens in December, with about 10% of all annual donations coming in the last three days of the year.”What happens in December could make or break your nonprofit's budget. But what you do right now, starting today, can make your December golden. Click To Tweet
Here are the ten steps you need to take SOON to ensure a successful end-of-year fundraising campaign this December.
- Thank your loyal donors. Ideally, you would have been doing this all year long! But if the last time your donors heard you express your gratitude was a week after they gave, last December, the single most important thing you can do is to send a letter or email thanking them again, and showing the impact they made by giving.
- Go over your donor data. Remove any duplicates from your list. Check for any addresses that have changed, or anyone on your list who has died. Make sure that you are calling them by the name they prefer.
- Get to know your donors better. Spend a little time doing online research about a sample of your list. Call some of them. Do a survey. Find out what they care about at your organization and outside of your organization. That way, you’ll know what moves them!
- Segment your list. You’ll want to talk with renewal donors differently from prospects, and to people who care about (for example) your youth theater program because they care about theater differently from the one who primarily car about youth. Make sure you can find those different segments in your database or CRM.
- Collect stories. Once you know what your donors care about, find one person or family who faces great challenges in exactly that part of life. Tell their story, vividly, leaving off at the point where the donor can make the difference. (And give the donor the chance to be a hero of the story!)
- Collect photos. They’re one of the first things that donors look at when they get your letter in the mail. A photo on the envelope may tip the donor into actually opening it, and a photo inside may decide them to read it instead of throwing it into the recycling bin.
- Use your newsletters and social media to put donors in a giving mood. love lettersYour social media posts in October and November should should sound like to the donor. Success stories belong here. When you send the appeal letter, it should call the donor to immediate action.
- Write the ideal appeal letter. Direct mail still works the best at stimulating donations. If you have email addresses and no postal addresses for some of your donors, then send the ideal email appeal–but work on getting their U.S. mailing addresses for next year!
- Follow up your appeal. A letter in the mail will have even more impact if you use phone calls or email (or text messages, if you have permission) to remind donors how much they matter.
- Get ready to send the ideal thank-you letter within 48 hours of receiving the donation. That’s how you start this December to make next December golden!