The Holidays are the busiest time of the year for the fundraising teams at non-profits, with roughly 33% of annual giving occurring in December. While older, traditional methods of giving (e.g. the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign) are still important mainstays in collecting donations, innovative internet giving campaigns are an important part of any non-profit's fundraising strategy. In order to capitalize off of this exceptional period of giving, here are some useful tips, ideas and insights for running a successful end-of-year giving campaign using email.
Sending out a series of emails thanking and asking your donors to give should be a part of your year-end fundraising strategy. If someone has donated previously, you know they are already committed to your cause. Here are some keys to emails that successfully generate donations:
- Send out a series of emails: People are more likely to donate when they are given reminders and a series of opportunities to give. One email is more likely to be missed or ignored than three. A series of emails can also play off of the theme: "12 Days of ___," (e.g. 12 Days of Giving)
- Thank donors: It is important to thank donors for the gifts they have already given; it helps them feel appreciated and also gives your non-profit an opportunity to explain how their gifts haves been used.
- Be specific about the importance of donations: Stress how donations are an integral part of your non-profit's ability to have a social/environmental impact.
- Explain where donations go: People are more likely to give when they know what programs, grants, etc. their money is helping to fund, and furthermore, how their money is creating social value. Use examples that also show the impact/value of donations. When people can attach a face or name/identity to a story, it makes that story more real. Including examples with pictures of beneficiaries or field staff can be very effective.
- Encourage donors to share: Ask supporters to share your email with friends and family. You can also include widgets for sharing via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. Another great way for donors to share is through their blogs. Encourage donors with blogs to write a post about your giving campaign. Provide bloggers with a prompt or phrase to include that touches on giving and the holiday season, and of course, your non-profit's work. Provide them with a link to your donation page.
- Optimize emails for mobile: Many people check their email frequently from their mobile devices. If donors cannot open up your emails, how will they know to donate?
- Streamline your donation page: Given that so many donations come in during the last weeks of the year, it is important to make sure that people can easily donate, and that your webpage will not crash! Test how user-friendly your donation page is before you start your email campaign. Get several volunteers to do a "dry-run" through the donation page and get their feedback on the process. Make any necessary tweaks so donors do not hit a roadblock once they have decided to give.
- Report back: Let old and new donors know about your fundraising success, and thank them! Some things to consider noting in your wrap-up emails include total amount raised, total supporters who gave, reminders about where the money will go/how it will benefit, plans and goals for the year ahead.
'Tis the season for giving, and we hope this guide will help and inspire your team to run a successful email campaign during this spectacular season for giving, and receiving, donations!