Year-end appeal is out the door, now what?
You’ve been working hard to craft the perfect annual appeal letter and it’s now finished and in mailboxes. It’s time to kick your feet up through the holidays, right? Wrong! Nonprofits that drop their year-end mailing and just wait for money to roll in the door are missing opportunities to secure more cash.
There are three things that all nonprofits should be doing after the appeal goes out the door. First, make sure your appeal is complimented with online materials. Tracking donations and running reports throughout the next few weeks is a must. And following up with past donors you haven’t yet heard from is a way to boost your bottom line.
The cheese shouldn’t stand alone
Even if your year-end appeal is the best letter you’ve ever written, it alone isn’t enough in our technology driven world. While many people will still fill out a response form and stick a check in the mail, more and more people are turning to online donations as their preferred method of donating. Creating an online aspect to your year-end appeal is something all nonprofits should be doing this year.
Online appeals can consist of many different aspects. You can feature an abbreviated version of your letter on your website with the option to make a donation online. Sending an email appeal to previous donors is a great way to get in front of people a second time. Use social media sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn to feature pieces of your appeal with a link to see the full version. Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you choose something. Getting your appeal online will help you reach more people and remind those who have already received your letter that it’s time to give.
Track, track, track
Nobody likes paperwork. We all hate completing reports. Do it anyway. The year-end appeal has a limited window of opportunity. Once the clock rolls over on December 31, the last minute tax incentive for donors ends. Knowing who has given and which of your past donors are missing is important for your next step – the follow up. Make sure you are running reports and thanking donors as the donations come back.
Don’t leave past donors in the past
With all the reports you’ve been running, you already know which of your past donors haven’t responded to your appeal. Follow up with those folks before the end of the year arrives! There are several ways nonprofits choose to do this, but the two most popular options are creating personalized letters and making phone calls.
Don’t resend your appeal letter to donors who didn’t respond to the first one. Create a new, personalized letter to these people. Make sure you include the amount they gave last year and specifically ask them to repeat their gift this year. Make sure you address it specifically to them and not “Dear Friend.” Depending on how many letters you have to send, consider including a handwritten note or at least handwriting the envelope. Personal touches like these are appreciated by donors.
For your top-end donors who have yet to respond to your appeal, make phone calls. Which donors get a phone call will be different for every organization, but a good rule of thumb is to call the top 20% of your donors. Create a script and have your board members help make phone calls. Remember to say thank you when you are talking to donors.
The year-end appeal is an integral part of most nonprofit organization’s annual budget. Making the extra effort after the letters are mailed is just one more way to boost your bottom line.
Are you struggling with your year-end appeal? Not seeing the results you expected? I can help make your appeal a success! Email email@example.com and find out how I can help your organization meet its objectives.