The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Love ‘Em Up Now to Boost Year-End & 2015 Support

This final quarter can shine as the time to generate the donations you need to move your organization’s mission forward, if you do it right.

In fact, 40% of online donors make their gifts in December, and that 40% to 60% of those gifts are made the last two days of the month according to superstar fundraiser Gail Perry. Offline giving is up as well in December, says Perry.

But…Just don’t wait until December to ramp up the start or strengthen your campaign, and don’t stop too early that month!

Start the Nurturing NOW with these 3 Simple Steps

1. Thank your current supporters—of all stripes—enthusiastically and frequently

That includes clients, board members, donors, volunteers, partners and others who help your organization move its mission forward. So many organizations lose out on prospective donations when they focus thanks on current and recent donors only.

Others who dedicate their time, passion and/or partnerships to your organization are just as loyal, and likely donors.

Thank them:

  • Meaningfully with personality and passion,
  • Memorably—Show, rather than tell, supporter impact with profiles of their fellow supporters (ideal for folks like board members or major donors) or client profiles and testimonials
  • Often, across all channels. For example:
  • o Fire up your program staff to thank program participants and the person who cultivates new donors to give them an extra personal (real signature or the occasional call—even if you can’t do it for everyone)

    o Get out there with your appreciation signage. If you have a physical plant where supporters work and/or visit, put those walls to work. Nothing brings on a smile—and a connection—than photo-driven success stories as surround sound!

2. The more personal and relevant the better

Segment your prospects by what youdo know about them is the most reliable way to do so.

Ways to segment include:

  • Donors: By average annual dollar value of gifts (e.g. High-dollar vs. middle vs. entry-level donors)
  • Volunteers: By length of volunteer involvement
  • Partners: By type of partnership (e.g. event sponsorship vs. advertising vs. collaborative program delivery)
  • Board members: and prospects; or five-year or more volunteers, two- to five-year volunteers and new volunteers)
  • Supporters who are already in two “supporter silos” but not yet donors—for example, a volunteer who is also the parent of a program participant. Their dedication is proven and current – these folks deserve special attention.

If the number of personal notes required is unreasonable, consider sending hand-signed custom holiday greeting cards to members of your Tier 1 network: Board members, loyal volunteers who are top prospective donors, donors (or at least some donors—returning, new, young or any other group that deserves special recognition). That personal signature makes all the difference.

We all want to know that our effort (be it money, time or attention) is valued. Don’t miss this natural opportunity to appreciate your supporters. And encourage colleagues, who many have slightly different networks, to do the same.

3. Reach out right now to rejuvenate relationships that have gone dark this year

In selecting and segmenting your lists, you’re likely to find a group of former supporters (don’t limit it to donors) who have gone quiet in the last year or six months.

Now’s the time to nudge them out of hibernation, by thanking them for their prior support and sharing stories that showcase how your organization has moved your cause forward in the last year. Focus on established programs they’re likely to be familiar with rather than new funding or volunteer needs.

Select the channel that fits best with each sub-group’s habits and preferences, and—if you have the data—feature messages that have generated response in the past. I recommend a multi-part campaign (preferably multichannel, try a mix of email and direct mail, with a call thrown in if possible for high-value supporters).

Most importantly—Don’t forget the strategic ask in this outreach. The strategy comes in the way you say it. After all, if you didn’t hear from a friend in a year would you call him up and ask for an invitation to his famed Oscars party? Doubt it.

Apply that same logic to your rejuvenation asks—love ‘em up first, then do the asking.

Get your nurturing going on all burners today! It’ll pay off this year and beyond.

How do YOU nurture your donors? Please share what works for you—and what doesn’t—in the comments below!

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About This Blog

Linda Lombardi
Content Manager

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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