If you’ve begun to receive countless emails encouraging you to ramp up for end of year appeals, here’s my advice: Don’t be sentimental. Consider the alternatives.
End of year giving is an increasingly obsolete convention of fundraising. Digital living has changed our fundamental sense of time, making it ever-more important for non-profits to make and mark their own calendars to elicit giving in response to what matters to your donors.
Yes, Christmas still comes even if you own an iPad and live in a seemingly timeless continuum of connection. My advice is to phase out end of year appeals over a couple of years while communicating with donors about the most important date for your organization. For some, it may be Founder’s Day, for others the anniversary of a significant event (ie: March on Washington, Stonewall, Endangered Species Act) that resonates loudly among your donors. Make that day both memorable and significant for your donors in a variety of ways: hold an event and send mission driven messages marking the milestones over the years tied to your date.
People give as an act of meaning. Your work is to articulate and amplify what the gifts mean. Create messaging that confirms the impact each gift has. That’s the why, but it is also useful to focus your donors on when.
By selecting a key annual fundraising date that matters, you can avoid the cacophony of appeals and pleas that crowd the end of the year, and gain traction making a fresh approach – when it’s unexpected.
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