Can you believe that 2022 is just around the corner? We know, it feels like 2020 was just yesterday, so the idea of a new year coming upon us can be a bit overwhelming!
The end of the year is one of the most important times, specifically for non-profit organizations, because it is the biggest season of giving in the year. Almost ⅓ of charitable giving occurs during December.
This doesn’t mean you just wait till the 12th month of the year to begin working on and pushing your charitable efforts. Over half of non-profits start planning their year-end giving in October!
But you aren’t too late to the game. As November is now upon us, it is the perfect time to concentrate on this year-end push. So the time to start planning (if you haven’t yet) is right now!
With that planning comes a lot of logistics that you need to take care of to ensure a successful fundraising campaign. Here is a simple checklist of things you need to accomplish to build an impactful end of 2021 campaign.
1. Prepare your budget and goals.
Let’s say you are in the process of building a house. You have this beautiful 4-bedroom in mind, with an open concept, fantastic decor, and a yard that will make even the neighbors jealous. But when the contractors come to start to build, you haven’t communicated any of these goals to them. You also haven’t given them a budget to work from either. What is the result? A total disaster.
Unless your vision is made clear, things won’t go so well. With any sort of fundraising campaign, there needs to be an overarching vision that is driving it.
There needs to be an end goal in mind.
There also needs to be the proper financial parameters in place to hold and sustain that vision.
With non-profits especially, we need to keep in mind that our big visions might be just a tad too big for our budgets to handle. Being realistic about what you can afford to do as a non-profit is vital to avoid “dipping into the red” and contain your marketing efforts and resources.
Remember – you don’t need a multi-million dollar budget to pull off a stellar fundraising campaign! There are fantastic resources out there that make this type of planning affordable and fitting to your needs.
2. Giving Tuesday is the starting point.
Giving Tuesday is an annual day of charitable giving that brings in a vast majority of non-profit funds. This day falls on the Tuesday just after Thanksgiving and focuses on giving back rather than just receiving. This day serves as the precursor for the larger month of giving in December. It’s like the appetizer before the full-course meal!
This day is an essential starting point for your year-end fundraising efforts, and if we bypass this moment, our December giving may suffer as a result.
We layout exactly how to plan for Giving Tuesday in this blog (link to “Planning for Giving Tuesday” blog) and what you can do for Giving Tuesday right now! (link to “What You Can Do TODAY For Giving Tuesday” blog).
3. Organize compelling stories
Part of the reason people give so much at the end of the year is because of the great tax benefits, but it also has a lot to do with the spirit of the holiday season. Life is full of sugarplum fairies, Hallmark movies, and the coziness of family in the month of December. However, something about the Christmas season opens people’s hearts up to joy and generosity (unless your name is Ebenezer Scrooge, of course).
This is a season of storytelling, evident most in the story of the birth of Jesus and His light that entered into the world.
This story is recounted thousands of years later for one simple reason: it captivates us. The story of Jesus gives us hope, proves the power of miracles, and brings immense joy.
This is the power of story and the power you can utilize to connect with your audience. Storytelling is not listing out the reasons A-Z why your donors should donate; storytelling is engaging. It is persuasive, not in a forceful way, but in a way that makes your audience feel like they are an essential character in the story. The narrative cannot go on without their help.
Practically, organizing these stories in the form of video, testimonials, and impact statements will help to bring your story to life visually and emotionally. There are so many wonderful ways to share your story! Figure out what works best for you and your audience and you will be good to go!
4. Establish your fundraising homebase well
Your company website is one of the most important digital tools for your non-profit organization. It serves as the homebase to all of your organization’s information, resources, and giving capabilities. Your website should be the end destination that is found through all of your social media, email marketing, and other digital communication. Linking your website in your social media bio, email source info section, and any of your print materials will help accomplish this.
However, you don’t want to invite your donors to a half-built, partially decorated, and empty house! Making sure your website is up to date is essential to informing your audience well and keeping things relevant to them.
Most importantly, there needs to be a clear avenue to your donation page. You can make your donation page link stand out in your website menu options using color and other design elements to draw attention to it. You should also link to your giving page throughout your website. For example, you can include it in the “about us” section, homepage, and other subpages.
The use of a landing page link in your social media bio can be extremely helpful to point people to your donation page as well. This simple tool inserts a link into your bio that, when clicked on, will pull up a menu of specific web pages on your site. Services like Linktree, Shorby, Campsite, and other “link in bio” marketing tools can be helpful to direct your audience exactly where you desire them to go (in this case, your donation page).
5. Share your content everywhere!
So you’ve put together your goals, settled your budget, organized your stories, and did some maintenance on your website – now what?
Although it takes much more time, effort, and resources, we think it is a wise idea to share your fundraising content everywhere you possibly can! Everyone has their preference for how they like to receive their marketing information. By utilizing all of the marketing strategies you can, you increase your chances of reaching more people with your mission and campaign.
However, we know that the places you share your content may truly depend upon your fundraising campaign’s specific mission.
If you are only trying to reach a certain audience (e.g., established givers), you may opt for an email-heavy campaign. On the other hand, if you’re trying to reach a broader audience, you may solely focus your efforts on social media.
Understanding your target audience and how to best reach them is crucial as you start to share your content!
6. Follow up!
Your fundraising campaign shouldn’t end when the clock strikes midnight in 2022. While the main purpose of a year-end fundraising campaign is to bring in donations during this high-giving season, it also develops relationships with these givers.
Let’s be real – there are many organizations like yours that do similar things and have a similar vision. What will make you stand apart from other organizations is your ability to connect well. The goal here is not to pit yourself against other organizations (we’re all in this together!), but the goal is to invite people to be a part of your organization in a meaningful way.
The best way to nurture this organization-donor relationship is to follow up after your donors have given. The follow-up should not be generic or contrived – it must be authentic! The more personal, the better. Use their name, reference their specific financial contribution, and give a heartfelt message of gratitude. And we repeat – this cannot be inauthentic. It must be personal!
Another benefit of the follow-up? It lends room to get helpful feedback from your partners. This is a fantastic way to learn what worked in the campaign and what did not. You can easily set up a short survey that you have your donors fill out. If you want to get personal, you can schedule a personal phone call to discuss how they perceived the campaign.
When all is said and done with the campaign, sharing the results of the campaign and sharing an overarching “thank you” is vital. It is a wonderful feeling to know, as a financial contributor, that your dollars have made an impact. Sharing these results with your overall community will affirm their participation in the campaign and encourage them to take part in it again next year!
The year is coming to an end, and your organization cannot miss this moment to build donor relationships, drive home your mission, and make an impact in the world. The mission of Pro MediaFire is “to help those that do good do more,” and this is exactly what we want to do for you!
Our digital strategists will help you develop your digital materials, develop a campaign, and impact your audience. Contact us today to get started and learn more about our church and non-profit growth plan!