The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

How Did You Handle…? 3 Examples of Change Ups for 2014 Year-End Campaigns

This post is the first in our new How Did You Handle…? Series—specific how-tos based on YOUR experiences.Please watch for our requests to share your wins, challenges and recommendations. YOU are the best trainers there are!

Year-End fundraising tops most organizations’ “must do, every year” list, but it’s challenging both to figure out how to do it differently but better and to get approval for a fresh approach for a campaign that’s so vital.

But case studies from colleague organizations commonly work as a calming balm for anxious decision-makers afraid to deviate from the norm (even when that norm isn’t working so well). Here’s what some of your peers are trying this year, with early results where available:

1. Change Up: Revising campaign tone and content—to be more direct, frank and engaging. For example, we’re showing results of donor generosity (rather than talking about them) and sharing organizational changes in progress as a result of grant guidelines.

Goal: We’re hoping to open up an active conversation with donors and prospects by inviting them into our organization! Our goal is to have these folks contact us with questions or suggestions.

Results to Date: Many donors have already contacted me to share appreciation for the more friendly and inclusive messaging. Several of them requested permission to share content from our year-end newsletter in their own communities (thus increasing our reach).

Others got in touch to share ideas or offer their assistance to tackle some of our organization’s concerns. That’s exactly the kind of response we’re looking for—stronger, closer relationships!

Source: Todd McPherson, Inter-Faith Community Services

2. Change Up: Participating in #GivingTuesday for the first time plus, beefing up our online and monthly giving options.

Goal: I (the Executive Director) introduced these changes to my board. I became aware of #GivingTuesday last year at the last moment, so investigated and proposed to our board that we make an effort this year to use this to kick off our December campaign this year.

I also hoped to motivate other charities in the area to participate in #GivingTuesday, so we’d all get more attention.

Results to Date: I’m still trying to persuade other local charities to participate in #GivingTuesday with us but have not been able to get them to understand the significance. We have decided to lead by example and hope they join us next year.

TBD on the campaign itself.

Source: Bob Stephenson, Executive Director The Literacy Coalition


3. Change Up: Personalizing our year-end content (and segmenting our list accordingly)

We’ll feature the story of one of our beneficiaries in the same state as the donor or prospect receiving the direct mail letter, to strengthen the connection between that donor/prospect and our impact.

Goal: We have read that relevancy/segmentation will increase the number and dollar value of gifts.

NOTE from Nancy: Personalization/segmentation is powerful when you can connect with what’s top of mind for your prospect or donor. If you can discuss state specific challenges likely to be known of and/or experienced by your prospects and your featured beneficiary, that’s golden!

Results to Date: Drops the first week of December!

Source: Emily Behan, Development Coordinator Community Solutions

What are YOU changing in this year’s year-end campaign? Please share your new approach with us!

With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build strong relationships that inspire key supporters to action. She shares her deep nonprofit marketing insights—and passion—through consulting, speaking, and her popular blog and e-news at GettingAttention.org.

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Linda Lombardi
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