It’s that time of year. The end-of-year fundraising chicken(s) are coming to roost. The Super Bowl for nonprofit fundraisers. That moment when WE FOR REAL NEED TO HIT OUR NUMBERS in order to keep our work going.
But digital fundraising in November and December isn’t just a big opportunity to raise money. It’s also a moment to better connect with our audiences and inspire them to convert to donors!
And while end-of-year fundraising can be tactically heavy (matches and deadlines and tax-deductions, oh my!), that inspiration is necessary – and it really shines through when you have a strong case for giving.
So let’s do a case for giving ‘fit check, shall we?
Do your donors know WHY they need to give now?
Okay, I’m throwing you a softball here because when it comes to Giving Tuesday and end-of-year fundraising, the urgency (Why give now?) is kind of baked into the dates. It’s important because it’s Giving Tuesday/December 31, or because they can take advantage of a matching gift offer and get a tiny break on their taxes (theoretically) before the end of the calendar year. But beyond the baked-in tactics, you can take that urgency even further.
Spend some time thinking about what happens when the first quarter of the next year comes around if you don’t hit your goal: Will an important program’s reach suffer, limiting how much good you can do for more people? Is there an ambitious and resource-intensive project that could get delayed without proper funding? Is there a policy goal or other work that might not happen if you don’t get the full support you need?
It might feel like these questions are a bit theoretical, but they really aren’t. Unrestricted funding allows every organization to more fully realize its mission. Without it, there are real consequences to the effectiveness of your organization’s work and ability to achieve its goals!
What’s the actual IMPACT a donor’s gift will have?
To convert constituents into donors, you need to clearly communicate the impact of their contribution. And it is shockingly hard for many, many organizations to communicate the answer to this simple question: What will a donor’s contribution actually allow you to do?
There’s a balance between highlighting the positive change their donation will make and creating a sense of urgency by emphasizing the immediate need for support. But it’s a balance you should always strive to achieve. If you can, share real-life stories and testimonials to showcase how previous donations have transformed lives and communities (but be careful not to get so wrapped up in the story that you forget to get to the fundraising ask!). By illustrating concrete examples of impact, potential donors will be more inclined to support your cause, especially when it’s combined with a strong incentive to give that comes naturally during this time of year.
Tailor your message to connect with donors
There are so many variables when it comes to how much and how deeply you can or should tailor your messages during the end-of-year giving season. Tests have shown that unique content has only a moderate effect on response for certain audiences, and tests have also shown the exact opposite.
But with the volume of communications and fundraising activities at an all-time high during this time of year (and your resources likely stretched dangerously low), here’s some practical advice: Spend some time understanding which audiences you need or want to speak to uniquely during #GivingTuesday and end of year – and do that BEFORE these campaigns start. Then, be selective about who gets that tailored messaging and have a real plan to carry through on how you plan to communicate with them during this campaign and beyond.
It’s really easy to get carried away in tailored content for very little return. So be thoughtful, be strategic, and don’t overdo it! And when you do take the time and extra effort to tailor your messaging, make it the most authentic and urgent messaging you can muster.
Okay friends, we’re all super busy, and I’m sure you need to get back to it! But as you do, please keep these three quick tips in mind to help keep you laser-focused on that strong case for giving and generate as many end-of-year season donations as possible for your organization.
Best of luck out there! And if we can help you or your organization with digital campaigning and fundraising, give us a shout – we’d love to hear from you!