It may seem too early to think about your year-end campaign, but trust us…it’s not! The final two months of the year are a crucial time for nonprofits. The numbers speak for themselves — 30% of annual giving occurs in December, and 10% occurs on the last 3 days of the year. Now is the time to start planning how you’ll boost your fundraising efforts to attract the generosity of people who are focused on giving at this point in the year.
The best way to create a strategic year-end plan is to base it on your donor data. Using this data will optimize your efforts, ensuring you don’t waste resources. In this post, we’ll share five steps for using data to inform your year-end strategy.
1) Segment Your Donors
Donor segmentation is important for two reasons. First, it gives you a better idea of who your donors are, how involved they are in their chosen cause, and their giving habits. Second, it provides a way to deliver relevant, customized communications that will pique donors’ interest. The more personal you get with your communications, the more your supporters will feel like part of your team. Segmenting your donor list serves as the foundation of your year-end strategy. Use our Donor Segmentation Cheat Sheet to get your donor data in order today.
2) Recruit Top Advocates, Participants, and Volunteers for a Peer-to-Peer Campaign
Peer-to-peer fundraising (also known as social fundraising or simply P2P) leverages your network of supporters to fundraise for you. Social fundraising campaigns are most successful when the campaign has a firm deadline — which is why they’re perfect for year-end fundraising. You can tie your P2P campaign to the theme of giving thanks, the holidays, or plan one that celebrates the upcoming new year and ends on January 1.
Once you’ve segmented your list according to the detailed data on your contacts, you’ll know who to recruit for your P2P campaign. Focus on those who are consistently involved with your work, whether they volunteer, contribute financially, or simply spread the word about your organization.
3) Promote Your Monthly Giving Program Across All Channels
The end of the year is an ideal time to promote your monthly giving program. People are in a giving mood, and they’re setting resolutions for the new year. Make it easy for them by inviting them to join your team of active, monthly supporters. Make the most of your monthly giving program in your year-end campaigns. Feature it in your email and direct mail appeals, promote it on your social media accounts, make it the default donation frequency on your giving page.
You can promote your program across all your channels in a variety of ways. The first step in gaining new supporters is to make them aware of the opportunity. Again, use your segmentation to send messages customized to each group of donors.
4) Approach a Major Donor for a Matching Gift
Matching gifts increase not only the revenue per solicitation, but also the response rate of campaigns. There are several reasons why matching gift campaigns work, not the least of which is the desire to be part of a meaningful movement.
Year-end campaigns gives you a reason to approach a major donor for a matching gift. Again, this time of year is when people are already in a giving mood, and they’re looking for opportunities to get involved. If you present a major donor with an innovative campaign idea at this time of year, the chances are high that she or he will agree. Scan your data to see which major donors are likely to be open to this idea and focus on those donors first.
5) Build Direct Mail and Email Templates Specifically for Year-End
Switch things up by creating special branding for your year-end communications and donation page. Celebrating the end of the year will get people freshly excited as they see you making the most of this time of year. These banners and templates might include snippets of what you and your supporters have accomplished together throughout the year. Use your data to see which donors celebrate which holidays and customize your direct mail and email templates accordingly.
6) Create a Calendar
As you’re brainstorming ideas and creating to-do lists, don’t forget to plan out your calendar in detail. Once you’ve decided what your year-end strategy will consist of, create a calendar that outlines the tasks associated with each campaign and tactic and specifies who within your organization will be responsible for each. From #GivingTuesday to holiday cards to major donor phone calls, assigning dates to the campaigns and tactics you intend to implement will ensure nothing gets lost in the hubbub. You’ll also be able to identify opportunities you missed by noting any holes in your calendar that could be filled. Schedule your social media posts, note which hashtags you’ll use, and include links to relevant materials.
Be Sure to Send Your Thank Yous
Start the new year right! Follow up your year-end campaign by using the first week in January to send your thank yous, expressing gratitude for the role your supporters play in the work you’re doing together. These thank yous will reinforce the good vibes and motivate donors to continue their support.
Close out the year with a bang by taking advantage of your donor data. Create a targeted, effective strategy by following the steps we’ve outlined and rest easy knowing that your strategy is based on a firm foundation.