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TIC TOCK: FIVE Professional Fundraising Ideas For Year-End Procrastinators

 TIC TOCK: FIVE Professional Fundraising Ideas For Year-End Procrastinators

Twas the Night Before Christmas, and all through the House, Grownups were surfing and clicking their mouse. The kids were asleep and the stockings were loaded, With ipods and Wiis and things sugar-coated. And now it was time to think of some others, The poor, disenfranchised, sons, daughters and mothers. Worthy cause emails came in by the scores, Making the case for donations and more. Which one to choose, and what to do then, Join, donate, or give—oh how much and when? But the sites were a mess and the forms were a tangle, The wanna-be donors’ nerves came a-jangle. It was too much confusion and they were so tired, You’d think it would be easier to make charity wired. Donate tomorrow, they said to themself, Was enough work today to be Santa’s elf. And so off to bed, the causes can wait, If it had only been easier to give or donate. Contributed by seechanges.org

December 31st is upon us. How can it be? Weren’t the kids in Halloween costumes last week? For crying out loud, their candy remains in a pillow case tucked in their room. And didn’t I just prepare a succulent Turkey? How did this happen? What am I to do. According to Professional Fundraising Consultants, December is so important, over 45% of annual giving comes in December.

of those December donations, nearly half arrive during the last 6 days of the month. There’s still time. This Fundraising Consultant urges you to  get moving NOW, here’s how.

1)      On-line Giving:  The growth in online giving is especially notable the last week of December, when online giving’s advantages of convenience and immediacy are crucial.  Use this to your advantage. If you have a list of supporters’ email addresses, get out an email blast using Constant Contact, they offer a free trial period and according to my nonprofit clients, it is super simple to navigate and BLAST. If you’re having trouble, their support team is ACES. Fundraising experts will tell you that as a rule of thumb you can expect a donation from about 1 percent of your list. If you send an email to 1,000 people, expect about 10 of them to donate. However, online donors typically give slightly larger average gifts than other donors.

2)      Mailings:  Send out an appeal between the 26th and the 31st of December. The last week in the year is always hectic which means your message should be short and simple; reminding people how easy it is to make their year-end gift online in the last few days of the month, in the nick-of-time for their tax deduction. Our fundraising consulting groups most successful mailings were sent on December 30th with a simple call to action, “Still Time to Donate in 2010!”

3)      Think through your story and strategy: As with all fund raising techniques, compelling pitches with pictures are more successful. Include examples of past projects and thank you letters for those you’ve helped. A well-chosen image provides a taste of inspiration. By all means, stay away from stock images and most definitely do not use negative imagery, like starving children. Sad images, valid or not, are proven to make people “click” away from your page.

4)      Limit Donor Options: Wagner Fundraising Group determined that giving people too many options stresses them out and they will ditch you. If you are driving donors to your website to give via your email blast or direct mail piece, then make darn sure once they arrive you have ONE or more LARGE “donate now” button(s) on your landing page rather than a full range of navigation options to donate.

ONLY during this time of year will this fundraisings consultant tell you to eliminate choices to give monthly, join, donate, renew, check out planned giving options, etc. During these last few weeks of December provide a single donation choice that literally jumps off the landing page and keep those donors on task … MAKE YOUR YEAR END GIFT BY DECEMBER 31, 2010.

5)      Thank Your Donor Three Times:  Giving is a very intimate and personal process, they are not getting anything in return except warm and fuzzy’s. Use the finish page as your first opportunity of thanks. The finish page is that screen that comes up once the donation process is complete.  Include and image which also conveys your gratitude.  Send another thank you via email a few days later.  In January send donors a tax receipt – your third and final gesture of thanks and goodwill. Finally, if the gift is large – $500 or more, make a phone call of thanks. If there is no phone number, send a hand signed letter.  

Avoid Procrastinating Next Year. Block off time now for the month of January to  develop a detailed and strategic Development Calendar laying out all deadlines and milestones in order to reach those deadlines. DO NOT forget to indicate who is accountable to meeting those deadlines.  

If you have any questions on how to raise money during this holiday crunch, please contact Marcie Wagner at marcie@wagnerfundraising.com. Happy Holidays and our very best wishes to you in the New Year.

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