Last week I attended a luncheon with other fundraising professionals and the topic was “Top 10 year-end Fundraising Strategies”. The speaker said if you Googled the topic, there were over a million articles. I did Google it and in .34 seconds I received 40,600,000 results. Now it is 40,600,001. I add mine to the lists of list, for two reasons. 1) I have clients who do not have time to go through even 4 of the lists, and 2) they are not clear with where to start.
DON’T WISH FOR IT, ASK FOR IT My most popular blog is “Don’t Forget to ASK”. That still applies with year-end strategies. Have you got a plan to ask for donations? Yes, donors are bombarded with end of year requests. Don’t let them forget about your organization, because you didn’t ask. It’s not too late, but make sure you ask, by either using Giving Tuesday through social media, multiple e-mail campaigns, direct mail or advertising. Another colleague put it well, “It is not about asking for money, but providing the opportunity to give. There really is such a thing as the ‘Joy of Giving’.”
MAKE SURE EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING IS READY Nothing is more frustrating as a donor, then to want to give, and not be able to. Make sure your website is current; your donate button works; that everyone is aware of the what information is needed. Have you created a donor form that sits by every phone to insure all necessary information is always collected? Do your volunteers understand the impact of certain dollar handles? Is there a professional fundraiser (staff or volunteer) always accessible to address larger or more challenging donations? Take the time to train staff and volunteers on: what information is necessary; how donations impact the organization; what are the acknowledgement protocols. That is another thing, do your automated protocols work?
KISMIF (KEEP IT SIMPLE, MAKE IT FUN) You are raising money, so have a clearly defined goal for the end of year strategy. We want to raise so much money from date X to date Y. Then keep everyone informed. There is nothing more useful than a goal thermometer, and celebrate little wins along the way (ie- the first 100 donors).
FIND YOUR NUGGETS (GIVE THE BEST CHANCE FOR SUCCESS) In their book, SWITCH, Chip and Dan Heath talk about shrinking the change to improve the chances for success. They use the example of loyalty cards. In the example, participants who start out 20% towards the rewards goal are twice as likely to achieve it. The same goes for your team, so have your goal (an increased goal) include those regular end of year donations. Then work on low hanging fruit and finding gold, like reports from your donor database. Many have a report called “last year, but not this year” for those donors who gave last year, but not this year. Maybe those board members or active volunteers who have not made a donation yet for this year. There are many opportunities within reach, just take the time to look through your files and take advantage of the ‘Season of Giving’.