Yes, it’s only August. But end-of-year fundraising is right around the corner and there’s no better time to start planning than now–especially in our current environment. In 2019, nonprofits raised almost 28% more than in 2018 for GivingTuesday, and during COVID the quick turnaround for #GivingTuesdayNow raised $503M in response to the pandemic. #GivingTuesday is only one piece of the annual fundraising pie which will need to evolve this year, so it’s never too early to start implementing your strategy. Let’s walk through five ways to maximize your end-of-year fundraising.
1. Start NOW!
The first and most important key to a successful end-of-year fundraising campaign is to start now! Start by taking a look at what you did last year. How’d it go? Was it better than the year before? How do you measure success? Total donations is one metric that’s great to compare. If you have the data, take a look at open rates on emails or engagement rates on social posts and see if any particular types of content stood out.
Key metrics like opens, clicks, frequency, recency, and shares can give you insights into how your campaign performed. Can you do more of that or evolve that story this year? Use that information and begin to outline the campaigns that you will use to connect with your supporters through the end of the year.
2. Connect Early and Often
As your planning phase begins to formulate, start thinking about when you might launch. October is not too soon to do so! Think about the environment of your supporters and donors. They’re already making (perhaps virtual) plans for their holidays around this time, so getting a message from your organization won’t feel out of place. As you lead up to special end-of-year moments, don’t be afraid to communicate more often than you might normally. Volume will be higher overall so pick your moments and commit to them. In addition to participating in bigger industry initiatives, like GivingTuesday, try to find moments that connect to your mission during this time. Do you have a food-based mission that could align with a Thanksgiving message? Launch your first end-of-year campaign in October.
“We are listening to and learning from our constituents by analyzing our Marketing Cloud metrics, including open rates, what content is getting responses, and which audiences are signing up for opportunities like webinars and newsletters.”
-Amy Aronoff Blumkin, Vice President of Brand and Marketing, ADL
Read more about how ADL is adapting during COVID-19.
3. Clean Up Your Data
A key element of success is making sure you set up your campaigns with the correct tracking to ensure visibility into your campaigns and understand what’s working. Have giving pages tagged to your campaign with unique identifiers for each channel. For example, if your toy drive campaign giving page will be on your website, linked on your social profiles, and part of an email send, make sure to have a unique link for each of those landing pages, even if the content looks exactly the same.
As you prepare your online and offline email sends, remember to deduplicate your records, update any old addresses, and standardize your addresses. Insights Platform Data Integrity operates directly in your CRM to make sure your contacts are clean and have the most accurate, up-to-date information.
4. Find ways to Provide Value
Keep the customer experience at the forefront. As you move toward your fundraising goals, are there ways you can provide value back to the donor? Can you line up partners so that donors get early or exclusive access to shopping opportunities? You can seek partnerships for donation matches, but don’t forget to remind donors of opportunities through their own employers via donation matching. That simple suggestion is considered a value add. You’re giving them new information–or at least reminding them of something they already knew!
Check out the Mapping Nonprofit Constituent Journeys Workbook to learn how to add value at every stage of the supporter journey.
5.Participate in Key Events
Finally, don’t forget to participate in what’s now a standard event at the end of the year–Giving Tuesday, which is on December 1 this year. Use all of the tools at your disposal (crowdfunding, peer-to-peer, etc). Spread the word and use relevant social media hashtags to extend your reach and be a part of the conversation.
With more live events moving online this year (check out our blog for tips!) be sure to plan for those events–don’t skip them. Many nonprofits are seeing growth in their online events as compared to their offline alternative.
Don’t forget to send an end-of-year giving statement to your donors. This is where it’s critical that your data is up-to-date. This provides value (step 4: check) and creates an experience of trust with your donors.
Find out more at the upcoming webinar on Clean Data and Supporter Journeys for End-of-Year Giving.
About the Author
Piper Sullivan is a Product Marketing Manager for Fundraising at Salesforce.org. She is passionate about helping nonprofits embrace technology as a way to connect with supporters in meaningful ways. Prior to Salesforce.org, Piper helped The Salvation Army modernize their fundraising philosophy and tools after having gained key marketing insights and a user experience focus at Apple. Her background has been in entertainment, marketing, and tech for over a decade. She resides in Chamblee, GA with her husband, Patrick.