I was sitting in LA traffic the other day listening to public radio (I’m really into KCRW these days), and the DJ was relaying a story she had read about people being up in arms because Costco locations were setting up Christmas displays in August.
My immediate thought? These folks are obviously not nonprofit fundraisers.
If my gut reaction is causing you confusion, consider this your call to action, friend! Now is the time to make sure you are ready for the flurry of activity that (hopefully) is your organization’s year end giving campaign.
Are you cringing? I get it. We’re still emotionally clinging to summer, so the thought of focusing on the last 10 weeks of the year feels less than amazing at this moment. But, as good ‘ol Benjamin Franklin allegedly said, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
My goal is to always be a useful partner in our community of care, so I offer my holiday season basics – a list of action items to jumpstart or enhance your 2022 year-end plans.
Whether your organization formally participates or not, Giving Tuesday has become relatively well known amongst our average American donors. Many of us use this day to mark the beginning of the hard press for the holiday season. I strongly encourage you to get your organization, your brand, and your story in front of your donors before the Thanksgiving holiday, during Giving Tuesday week, and throughout the month of December.
Drive engagement, attract new supporters, and roll into the next calendar year with an even bigger portfolio of donors to connect with. If your organization’s events are still feeling transactional, please schedule time with me for a free coaching session. Events are gatherings of people who care about your mission and/or the person who asked them to attend. Ticket sales are nice, donations at the event even better, but nothing is better than using events as entry points to deep, long-lasting, impactful connections. Be sure to include all of your new event attendees in the rest of the activities.
Send 2-3 emails per week! Nothing inspires a current donor to continue investing like results, success stories, and stakeholder testimonials. Including images is super important – especially images with eyes straight to the camera….there’s a reason this Nat Geo cover is the best-selling magazine of all time. It’s all in the
Repurpose the email content for your social media channels. Trust me, your supporters won’t notice you not recreating the wheel…in fact, repurposing content helps engage folks in a way that locks information into our overburdened minds!
Call to say thank you and wish supporters a happy holiday season. Then ask about their plans and aspirations for the month ahead. Share some of your own. If you’re getting a lot of voicemails, leave messages and send texts. Bonus points if you engage your Board
members in this process!
Mail a compelling holiday appeal, update, and/or annual report to your folks who still love paper (AKA those that sent checks earlier this year and last!), and be sure to include a stamped return envelope to make their lives (and donating) super simple. More bonus points if you engage volunteers in writing personalized notes or perhaps creating inexpensive trinkets to
include in these packets. Small, personal touches can still make a tremendous emotional
This is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully, it serves as a good reminder of some simple best practices. If you’re in need of thought partnership, compelling templates, or just a second set of eyes to look over your plans…I’m here to help. Wishing you an incredibly productive, connected Fall and a fruitful holiday season!