Year-end giving amounts to an estimated 40-70 percent of many nonprofits’ annual budgets. The most charitable season of the year is a prime opportunity to secure new supporters and to lift the giving levels of current donors. In this blog series, we will review the steps to devising a strong campaign—including how to use data analytics to target your messaging, the importance of a compelling story, how to distribute your story through multiple channels, and when to follow up with donors.
INTEGRATE YOUR COMMUNICATION CHANNELS
Consistent messaging is only part of an integrated communication strategy. Each communication channel should be linked, timed, and orchestrated according to its particular strength.
Your campaign calendar should reflect planned communications that alternate between email and direct mail. Add in phone calls and in-person visits for key constituents. The integrated approach will reinforce your message and give donors multiple outlets through which to give.
Send Donors Online
Offline communications should also drive people online. Consider, for example, a direct mail letter that references a story of a young girl impacted by your organization. Use compelling copy to send the reader online to hear more of her story. Then, post a video on your website or use other online content that tells how donor gifts are helping many girls like her. When donors hear the rest of the story, offer another chance for them to give.
Increase Annual Donor Value
Using multichannel strategies can effectively increase the annual value of a donor. Online engagement will increase the amount that donors give, even if they continue to use offline methods to submit the donations. For example, donor value can increase from $100 based on one channel to as high as $200-250 using multiple channels. Since people are conditioned to give generously during the holidays, it’s the perfect time to leverage that increase in donor value.
Case in Point: CitySquare
Pursuant strategized with CitySquare to create an effective five-part email series to reach their donor base, complemented by multiple direct mail appeals. The emails linked to professionally produced videos that told moving stories of people who had been deeply impacted by CitySquare’s work, including a recipient of their services, a volunteer, and a donor, as well as a message from CitySquare CEO Larry James. These emails and the videos, which were housed on specially designed web pages, linked to an online donation system to facilitate direct donor response.
A newsletter and appeals were sent via direct mail with messaging that was congruent with the stories CitySquare was telling via email and on their website. Recipients of the newsletters were encouraged to go online and hear more about the individual stories. The stories and videos engaged CitySquare’s donors and prospects and effectively communicated the value of investing in their work. As a result, CitySquare’s 2010 online donations were more than 55 percent higher than in 2009.
At year-end, your communications can include links to Facebook and Twitter so your donors can help spread your message through their social media networks. The buzz created online in this manner can help bring in new donors and prospects.
- Schedule a series of pre-campaign communications. Cultivate your donors through emails and direct mail prior to making a direct ask.
- Create special landing pages or microsites. Your emails can send donors directly to pages with targeted messages and a donation form, reducing friction in the giving process
- Include links to online donation pages in direct mail pieces. Offer donors multiple ways to give so they can choose their preference.
- Intersperse your emails with communications that don’t ask for money. For example, send a Thanksgiving eCard to prospects and donors to keep them engaged.
- Integrate social media. Include “Share on Facebook” and “Share on Twitter” functionality after every donation so users can spread the message to their friends.