Last Minute Tips for Your Year-End Appeal

Photo by Cali4beach

This time of year is overwhelming because of it’s the last push to get those dollars, wrap up those projects, and tie loose ends. And for many nonprofits, this is the moment they’ve worked for all year.

If you haven’t strategized how you’ll make your end-of-year ask, don’t freak out. It’s ok. There are several resources out there to help you through and give you ideas of things you can do to engage your donors in the last couple weeks of 2011.

Segment your email list so you can personalize your messages.

Isn’t it such a turn off when you get a mass email you know 1,904,576 other people got? But how cool is it when you get a message that applies to you? Get in your donor’s shoes and see what kind of special message you can send them based on what they’ve done for you or what you know about them personally.

Explain yourself well in an elevator pitch.

Jules Brown lists the fundamentals of the ask in this blog post, which are critical because most of the time, you only have 30 seconds or so of the potential donor’s attention.

Focus on the donor.

All of your year-end appeal communications should be about the donor—not your organization; that how you personalize your ask. This is great advice from Pamela Grow; she says, “When your focus is on your donor, the money will follow.”

Provide a postage-paid reply envelope.

If you’re doing it by snail-mail, make sure to include a postage-paid envelope with your ask. People are more likely to donate if there are fewer steps involved in donating.

If you can, call some/all of your donors.

We work hard writing good appeal letters so it’s easy for us to think that they’re “compelling enough” for a donor to donate. But there’s nothing like getting a phone call from someone of the organization you donated to. Marcie Wagner has good tips on reaching out to last year’s donors who may not have given this year.

Do something.

Don’t let this year pass without asking your donors one last time to donate. Remember there are tax benefits to donating, and it is the giving season, so even if you haven’t been able to design the world’s best year-end campaign, try something simple.

What other last-minute tips would you add?