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8 Tips for Staying Sane During End-of-Year Fundraising

By December 19, 2017
By: Emily Goodstein, Marketing Consultant You made it to December. Congratulations! As a nonprofit fundraiser, December is often the month long lead up to your very own Super Bowl. And you’re not only prepping the nachos, performing in the halftime act but also responsible for making the game winning play. Throw in a few major family obligations, long lines everywhere and a healthy dose of festive music… and you’ve got yourself a somewhat stressful situation. Although we can’t do your holiday shopping for you or reduce the awkward attention on your brother’s fourth nose piercing at family gatherings, we can help ensure you and your organization are all (fundraising) systems go as the last week of the year rolls around. Fundraising

ONE: Back to Basics

Great nonprofit fundraising making it easy to donate.Rachel Muir helps us go back to basics with this scary/helpful reminder: “Test, test, test. Is this thing on? Are all your forms and links working? Are all your images rendering? I know it sounds laughable and you are thinking ‘Oh, for heaven’s sake, I’ve got that covered!’ but test it to be safe! Last night I went to four nonprofit websites and all of them had broken links on their donation pages.”

TWO: Keep ‘Em Separated

Get ready to segment. Here’s what Paul Holman-Kursky from Common Sense Media had to say about the difference segmentation made in his organization’s EOY efforts: “Our 2015 year-end giving campaign was our first to include significant, coordinated online outreach to our user base, so in 2016 we wanted to see how we could improve upon that performance. Our 2016 year-end giving campaign was also the first to take advantage of a big infrastructure upgrade we had launched in mid-2016: rebuilding our Salesforce CRM instance and extending it to every corner of our organization. (It had previously been limited to our Development team.)” Paul also noted that segmentation helped answer questions like: What percentage of the teachers who use Common Sense Education classroom resources are also parents who rely on Common Sense Media ratings, reviews, and advice? With the right CRM setup, his organization was able to find more insights into how their campaign would perform against different audience segments.

THREE: Mix. It. Up.

Double check your content strategy. Do you need to diversify? Jackson River’s Misty McLaughlin explains why this is so important: “A mix of different types of content at regular intervals, tied together with an overarching theme or message, will provide your audience with multiple ways into your work — warming up prospective donors for the role they can play in supporting you.”

FOUR: Ch.. Ch.. Ch...Changes

You are hereby empowered to adjust your strategy if need be (thanks for this great advice, too, Misty McLaughlin): “In the case of stellar results, well done! Last year, one large animal-welfare organization exceeded their goal early enough to cancel their third planned ask email. Instead, they opted to send a heartfelt, evocative thank-you note to their whole list. While they could likely have wrung out additional gifts from their file, they communicated a powerful message in taking a breath and genuinely thanking supporters.”

FIVE: Be a Social Butterfly

Don’t forget the social sharing goodness. Rachel Muir will peer pressure you into it if you don’t have it set up yet: “Listen, you don’t buy a car because the dealership needs the money. Yes, it gets you from point A to point B, but it also says something about you. Let your donors be the heroes here and make it ridiculously easy for them to share their generous deed with others. Make sure your thank you landing page boasts social sharing tools.”

SIX: Stop. Collaborate and Listen.

Collaborate and listen to peers and other nonprofits, to get the most out of nonprofit fundraisingThe good people at the 92nd Street Y share this wisdom on why working together is sometimes the best way to fundraise: “We’ve also seen organizations that work on similar causes or in the same city or town come together to strengthen their campaigns. In Allentown, PA, seven arts organizations worked together to raise awareness and support for the local arts community. They learned that by working together, rather than competing for funds, they were able to raise more individually and collectively have a greater impact.”

SEVEN: E is for Evaluate

This is a best practice we talked about in our #GivingTuesday Guide, and it applies for December fundraising too. Dashboard When January arrives, ask yourself: what went well? Make notes for yourself for next year about what should be changed or ideas you thought of but didn’t have the time or bandwidth to try. (Consider putting the notes in an appointment with yourself in July of next year when you begin planning for end-of-year.)

EIGHT: Say Thanks

We don’t just mean to thank your donors (but we hope you always do). Thank your team and thank yourself, too. The race to December 31 can really take it out of you and your colleagues. We love the idea of ordering a surprise lunch for the digital team or giving staff extra time off after a job well done. And to you, oh hard-working development professional, stop and write down your self-care plan right now. It’s okay, we’ll wait. I hope it includes the words “nap,” “hydrate,” and “break.” Nonprofit fundraising is easier with Salesforce for Nonprofits, and also check out Pardot to engage people better. Thanks for reading! If you’re looking for more fundraising success, you can check out this free demo of Pardot for Fundraising. Looking for more best practices? Turns out our #GivingTuesday Toolkit is full of resources that are also applicable for end-of-year planning. Double win!