In case you’ve been asleep at the wheel, we’re well into the giving season and the clock is ticking for you to put together a successful year-end appeal.

Now that the red alert is out of the way, if you’re running behind, have no fear–there’s still time to make your message stand out.

A strong year-end appeal increases the odds that your supporters will pay attention and respond now… and continue to support your cause into 2020 (even better!). Let’s focus on the essential elements of a year-end appeal, and how to differently catch your donors’ attention.

These strategies will help you build a solid year-end appeal in a condensed timeframe.

Brand Consistency Is King, from Start to Finish!

Potential donors are much more likely to take your organization seriously IF your branding is consistent. When creating your year-end campaign, make sure each piece has the same color, font, and graphic style. Consistency between direct mail, social media posts, and donation pages creates a unified message and strengthens your donor’s choice to give to your cause.

Multiple Channels Broaden Your Year-End Appeal

Your supporters access multiple communication channels throughout the course of any given day. If your year-end appeal only comes through one channel, you’re limiting your reach! Effective year-end campaigns use a variety of ways to engage their fans. Email blasts and social media posts are an efficient means of connecting with tech-savvy, mobile users who spend hours each day conducting work and personal business on their cell phones and other smart devices. Postcards and letters are old school and remain an effective way of gaining attention. Working together, all channels reinforce your message.

Use Impact Labels With Suggested Giving Levels

What the heck is an impact label? Impact labels serve the purpose of providing a donor menu. List three to four suggested levels of giving and provide a short description of what can be accomplished with each donation level.  Impact labels make giving more personal by forming a direct connection between suggested giving levels and real-life outcomes.  A critical note.  While impact labels may help the donor understand where their money goes, be careful not to restrict these funds!  Your year-end appeal needs to focus on unrestricted giving, not tying your funds up so you can’t access them. 

Pro tip: Words matter. Get help from the best writer on staff or on the board. Don’t have one? Hire a copywriter.

As mobile devices are now a constant in our daily lives, mobile giving is gaining traction. Did you know that at least 25% of donors complete their donations on mobile devices?  (So you’d better have this technology prepped at your shop!)  Having donation pages that are mobile responsive removes a potential barrier to giving, and makes it more convenient for your fans to respond to your year-end appeal. Text-to-give is another option that makes giving via a mobile device easy.

Old School Still Equals Cash!

Yes, you need to focus on online and mobile giving.  And don’t you dare forget about the gold standard – the print appeal!  Letters or postcards are an effective way to reach out to those who aren’t giving online. If your budget doesn’t allow a large mailing, use your CRM (donor management software – like Bloomerang) to segment supporters who have primarily donated via mail in the past, and mail cards or letter-based appeals specifically to those donors.  For more information on my favorite CRM, click here – Bloomerang

Get Your Board Members Involved

Nonprofit board members are some of your most enthusiastic and well-connected supporters. It’s time to actively engage them in your year-end campaign. Use your board members to make personal phone calls to large donors. There’s no one in a better position to make the pitch to your most high-value donors than the board members who are deeply invested in your mission  – and who see you actively delivering on your mission.

Pro-Tip: Prep your board members to speak about their role in your organization at holiday gatherings.

Pair Your Thank You With Year-End Campaign Final Results

You know it’s important to express your appreciation immediately after a gift is received, right? Want to REALLY stand out?  Send out a recap email at the conclusion of your year-end campaign. This communication is a perfect opportunity to reiterate your appreciation and update everyone who donated to support your work. Demonstrating impact makes your supporters feel good about what they’ve helped accomplish and provides an incentive to give again in the future.

Pro Tip: You can pre-schedule this email to deliver on December 29, 30 or 31 while you’re out of the office on holiday.

You are out of the office on the holiday, right?

Use these tips to take your year-end appeal increase donations, boost results over multiple channels and set yourself up for increased annual giving in 2020!