If you’re part of a nonprofit organization, chances are you’re preparing an annual appeal (maybe even bolstered by personalized thank-you gifts for donors or volunteers). And for good reason. The spirit of giving reaches its highest point during the holiday season. Couple that with donors’ desire to boost charitable giving as a year-end tax deduction, and it’s a great time of year for nonprofits to bring their fundraising goals into the home stretch.
As evidenced by the number of appeals you find in your email, mail and social media accounts, half of nonprofits report getting most of their annual donations from October through year end. Nearly a third of donations are given in December, with 12 percent of giving happening in the final three days of the year.
The end of the year is ripe for launching an annual appeal
While the time is right to ask, creating an attention-grabbing appeal is key. With so many organizations asking for support at the same time, how can you make your annual appeal stand out? Read on—we’ve got a few tips you can try!
4 ideas to stand out from the crowd
1. Launch your year-end appeal across multiple channels.
While one potential donor gets all of her information from social media, another pays close attention to what drops in his mailbox. Yet another checks email religiously. Unfortunately, you may not know exactly how each donor likes to receive information. That’s why it’s best to make your campaign do double and triple duty, getting your message out on every channel to reinforce your message.
2. Personalize your donor ask.
Hand address envelopes and affix real stamps—slightly askew—so donors can see that personal touch. Include a handwritten note on the letter itself, or have someone on the team write a personal note to those they know. Even emails can be personalized. Campaign Monitor® reports that personalized emails raise click-through rates by 14 percent and conversions by 10 percent. If phone calls are part of your annual appeal strategy, ask board members or others to make a personal ask on behalf of your nonprofit. And don’t be afraid to be specific. Many donors appreciate guidance with suggested donation levels.
3. At donor events, grab attention with custom promotional products for volunteers.
Planning an event along with your year-end appeal? Have your volunteers stand out with custom apparel or gear that captures attention. Community Council of St. Charles County raised visibility of their dedicated volunteers and awareness of food insecurity in their region with the help of custom golf visors. The lime green visors made volunteers highly visible, giving them additional credibility during their annual food drive, Shop Out Hunger.
“It was so helpful because every volunteer had a visor, and as you approached the store, you could see the Shop Out Hunger people right away because they had the visors on,” according to Pam Raines, director of development and community relations.
“This was very cost-effective, and we were able to get enough for the volunteers, which was great,” Raines says.
The results of the food drive helped restock regional food pantries. In all, 24 stores in a three-county region participated, 20 food pantries received donations, and 293 volunteers collected cash and food donations. In the end, the effort raised more than $4,000 and more than 31,000 pounds of food for the pantries. Not bad for a simple promotional product that doubled as thank-you swag!
4. Capture lasting attention with gratitude and personalized thank-you gifts.
Nothing inspires people to give like feeling appreciated for their generosity. Thank your donors today to lay the groundwork for next year’s annual campaign or year-end fundraising. Personalized thank-you gifts with your logo leave a lasting impression on your donors, one which will have them thinking about you year-round. For high-end donors, select premium gifts that match their unique interests, like golf or travel. For more modest donors, choose affordable promotional products that are both useful and appropriate to your brand or campaign, like custom pens, branded office supplies or personalized kitchen utensils. Be sure to include a handwritten, personalized thank-you note to show how much you appreciate their support.
Get started on your appeal today!
Your organization’s annual appeal makes it possible for you to continue your work in the coming year with financial confidence. By employing these four tips, you’ll increase donor recognition of your efforts and set a foundation for future years. No matter what kind of thank-you swag you choose, personalized thank-you gifts for donors will remind them of your brand and inspire them to support the good work of your organization year after year.