According to Bloomerang®, 50 percent of nonprofits get most of their annual donations from October through December. Perhaps even more surprising, 33 percent of December’s donations come in on the last day of the year.
As you begin to craft the perfect letter, email or social media year-end ask, it’s important to consider your audience, your most powerful stories and donor thank-you gifts.
Personalize your messages by donor type
Every donor is different, from the amount that they donate to the frequency of their donation. If you’re asking a person to donate for the first time, that letter’s message should vary from the one going to the person who gives year after year.
Take time to segment your donation-request letters as much as possible, personalizing them with donor names and past donation details.
It’s also best practice to personalize your donor gift ideas because tangible thank-you gifts can help donors feel more invested in your cause. Follow smaller donations with a letter, email or a mailable gift—like a pocket first-aid kit—paired with a note thanking them for caring about your needs.
For a major donation, consider visiting the customer with a gift basket so you can thank them personally for their generous donation. The basket could include cheese, sausage and crackers, a cutting board, a bottle of wine and some wine glasses.
Begin with gratitude and tell a story
In your letter, emphasize how much you appreciate past donations and the work they helped you accomplish, no matter how much or how often the donor gives.
While an occasional statistic can be compelling, whether it’s the number of meals served or the number of books donated, stories told around those statistics will create a stronger emotional connection with the reader. Whenever possible, tell a specific story that shows how donations from “you, and people like you” help those you serve. Sharing a particular person’s story (with permission, of course) can be especially impactful.
Pictures also are incredibly powerful. Consider sending a postcard with photos of your yearly accomplishments as an appeal. And if you want to provide more information and an annual reminder to donate, create a tri-fold postcard with a magnet.
Above all, say thank you, even to those who haven’t yet given. Perhaps pair a thank you for past support with one of these donor gift ideas: a smartphone wallet or a letter opener. Sending a gift, even a small one, can compel people to give.
Remember the ask
Make sure to put specific donation levels in your letter. And tell donors what you plan to accomplish—and how it can only be accomplished with their help. When including donation levels, remind them about the amount they’ve donated in the past and encourage them to give a little more this time.
Perfect your year-end appeal with these tips and donor-thank you gifts
A heartwarming year-end appeal letter can bring in more donations, allowing you to continue your important work. The best appeal letter includes stories, gives thanks and offers thoughtful donor thank-you gifts to your supporters.
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