I’m Wes, one of the co-founders of Wisely, and today I want to share some tips with you for pulling together a great year-end campaign for your mid-level and major gift donors. At Wisely, we’re passionate about supporting fundraisers to grow revenue year round, but a year-end campaign in particular is a huge opportunity for revenue growth.
Many nonprofit organizations receive more than 40% of their donations for the year in November and December! Many donors are feeling more generous during the holiday season and focused on giving back to the causes that are close to their hearts.
Step 1: Use Your Fundraising Portfolio to Prioritize Donors
Because this is a hectic time of year, you really want to focus on your best mid-level and major gift donors and prospects. Your fundraising portfolio will come in handy for choosing which donors to prioritize.
Group 1: Mid-level and major gift donors who typically make a donation at this time of year.
Group 2: Mid-level and major gift donors who haven’t made a donation yet this calendar year, whether they typically give at year-end or not. A year-end campaign gives you a nice reason to reach out to these donors.
Group 3: Donors who make their gifts through stock/securities are good prospects for your year-end campaign because of the added tax incentives for these types of gifts.
Wisely portfolio management software can help you organize your fundraising portfolio to easily find and track these donors.
Step 2: Messaging for a Great Year-end Campaign
Now that you know which donors you’re going to focus on, it’s time to outline what you will say to secure a year-end donation. Here are some practical messaging tips you can employ when you reach out to your mid-level and major gift donors at year-end.
Prompt the Warm and Fuzzies with Success Stories
Success stories help to make your nonprofit’s impact tangible to donors and they create an emotional connection to your mission. A great success story shows the impact of donations and expresses why more support is needed.
At this time of year donors are often feeling grateful and looking for opportunities to give back, emotional success stories leverage these feelings so donors choose to give to your organization.
Don’t Forget to Say Thanks! Steward Donors for Their Past Giving
A little thank you can go a long way with your mid-level and major gift donors at year-end, especially if they’ve already made a gift during that calendar year. This simple outreach can inspire a second gift from donors without having to make a hard ask.
Pair your thank-you with a holiday card and include a success story and you have the perfect personal year-end stewardship package for your donors.
When is it the Right Time for Tax Incentives?
Not every donor will be motivated by the promise of a tax deduction, but many will be especially at year-end when the deadline is approaching. If you have any major gift donors who have not made their donation yet this year, reminding them of the tax incentives may motivate them to make the gift.
Tax incentives are often a good motivator for donors who give stocks/securities as there are additional tax benefits for these types of gifts.
Remember Your ABCs: Always Be Cultivating
When you reach out to your mid-level and major gift donors at year-end, and every other time of year, remember to always be cultivating (ABC). You may not secure a donation every time you speak with a donor, but you can focus on strengthening that relationship every time you reach out.
Don’t forget to keep notes in your CRM, or in your fundraising portfolio with Wisely, so you can continue to build those relationships and track donor outreach.
Step 3: Channels for a Great Year-end Campaign
Now that you know what you’re going to say to your donors, it’s time to talk about the channels you’ll use to spread your message. The best approach for your year-end campaign is a multi-channel, multi-touchpoint strategy.
Direct Mail and Mass Market Tactics for Mid-level Donors
You probably can’t reach out to all of your mid-level donors personally at year-end, but you can integrate personal touches into mass market tactics like direct mail to give them a special experience.
Some ideas of how to upgrade a direct mail year-end appeal for mid-level donors:
- Add handwritten notes or a handwritten insert into the packages for your key donors
- Include an impact report as a stewardship piece
- Send hand signed holiday cards to say thanks
Personal Mail for Select Mid-level Donors and Major Donors
To reach out to your major gift donors and select mid-level donors you can use mail pieces like handwritten letters and cards for a more personal approach.
Sending your donors a personal stewardship letter or a holiday card is going to elicit an emotional response from them and help you cultivate that relationship. You can add to the stewardship messaging by including an impact report about your nonprofit’s work over the last year.
Email is Quick and Flexible at a Busy Time
At this busy time of year, you can use email to easily connect with donors through a channel that is flexible and easy to respond to.
If you will be away from the office over the holidays, use email to make sure your donors know how they can make their donations in your absence and include the deadlines for gifts of stock and securities. It’s a good idea to include all of these details in your out of office reply!
At Wisely, we’re passionate about helping nonprofits raise more revenue to support their missions year round. Wisely was founded to help nonprofits accelerate their fundraising. Wisely’s AI-powered fundraising software gives you real-time insight on who will give, how much, and when, so you can connect with the right donors at the right time.