With the start of a new month, and the arrival of cooler, shorter days, chances are you’re asking yourself some variation of the questions: Where did the time go?!?; How is it already October?!?; and, What am I going to do to make the most of the rest of 2021 and plan for 2022?!?
Ready or not, the all-important fourth-quarter giving season is here. From year-end campaigns to annual funds, special events to capital campaigns, and data management to marketing, the time is NOW to maximize your organization’s opportunities for the next three months, while preparing for the year ahead.
Our team, with successful experience across all these areas and more, has the ideas to put into action for success. For example, there is a lot you can — and likely should — be doing with data right now. Our Analytics and Research leaders, Shay Laderbush and Alex Napuck, offer some examples:
- Reviewing prior year’s performance to plan for 2021 year-end appeal
- Customizing ask amounts
- Pulling lists to see who hasn’t given yet this year
- Reaching out personally to top prospects
- Pulling lists of those who have given, but not at their “regular” levels
- Pulling lists to see who usually gives at year end to make sure you include them
- Upgrading lists for those with giving societies
- Researching top prospects to prepare you for year-end asks
And Julia Kathan and Megan Leitheiser, who lead our Communications Team, know it’s crucial to cut through the clutter with precise messages designed for targeted audiences:
- Email – Communicating with donors via email is both cost-effective and efficient, but it can be especially difficult to stand out from the crowd. A few ways to do that include:
- Writing an engaging subject line, remembering questions perform well
- Sending from a recognizable person, not an organization
- Including social sharing buttons
- Updating your email list to include personalized information
- Website – In 2020, 13% of all fundraising dollars came from online giving, so it’s imperative that nonprofits prioritize their digital presence. Nearly 30% of online donations last year were made on mobile devices, so make sure your website is mobile responsive, paying special attention to your appeal landing page. (Blackbaud Charitable Giving Report, 2020)
- Direct Mail – While direct mail response rates vary from nonprofit to nonprofit, rates for direct mail range between 5-9%. When coupled with other digital communication mediums like email and social media, response rates can climb as high as 28%. This year, consider including a direct mail component to your year end appeal.
- Social Media – Social media continues to be an effective way to share your impact and inspire action. At year end, remember to post engaging content, leverage hashtags, and use compelling visuals to engage and grow your audience. Also, make sure all of your social accounts are set up as nonprofit so you can take advantage of special features and resources for nonprofits.
When it comes to your fundraising, whether for the next few weeks and months or the years ahead, our Executive Vice President Tonya Addy leads the way with a track record of engagements that ensure organizations clearly research and define their goals — then reach or exceed them. One timely tip:
- Leverage a matching gift. Campaigns with matching grants raise between three and five times more money than those that don’t. (State of Modern Philanthropy 2021 Report) Our team saw this firsthand in 2020 when one of our clients offered a matching grant for the first time as part of its year-end appeal. Total giving, average gift size and number of gifts all more than doubled as a result.
It can be a lot to think about, and certainly a lot to do. That’s where we come in. Let’s connect. Tell us a little about your immediate and longer-term fundraising, communications, strategy and implementation needs, and we can explore them together.
Through the end of October, we’re offering a complimentary consultation.
While the time is now to maximize the rest of this year, the time is also right to prepare for the year ahead, and plan for the projects that will make your organization stronger in every way.
We look forward to hearing from you!