Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fall Fundraising Strategies

At the beginning of September businesses typically try new things to gain momentum after the summertime lull.  For non-profit organizations September is the start of the new fundraising season.  This is an important time of year for fundraisers, because approximately 50% of all money raised from individuals comes in during the last quarter of the year.  So right after Labor Day non-profits must have a fundraising plan in place and ready to be implemented.

Here are some unique fundraising concepts that you can try to enhance your current fundraising strategies….

1. Anniversary donors. These are people who have given during the fall season in previous years. Treat them like the valuable supporters they are. Use live stamps or first-class postage. Use handwriting on their mailings. Send them cultivation communications early in September and communicate your recognition of their loyalty to your organization.

2. Integrated campaigns. Give your donors the opportunity to respond to your campaign using whatever channel they prefer: mail, email, web, phone, mobile, social media. Make it easy for your donors to contribute using whatever method they are comfortable with.

3. Milestone mailings. Every year, there is a segment of your support base who reaches a noteworthy level of giving – e.g. 10 years, 20 gifts, $1,000 of lifetime giving. These loyal donors deserve to be acknowledged. This type of recognition can increase participation levels … and is a wonderful donor-focused stewardship practice. Never, never let your donors feel they are taken for granted. Personalized appreciation avoids that anxiety from creeping into their thinking.

4. Mail earlier AND later. Mail delivery is getting slower. In 2011, nonprofit mail is arriving in-home at least one week slower than previous years. So, mail your holiday appeals earlier. However, email and social media posts must be time-sensitive, so send those closer to the actual holidays and year end.

5. Be donor-aware. Before contacting a donor be aware of what is happening for them.  For example if a donor is from an area that recently suffered thru a hurricane be sensitive to the fact that they might be in a difficult situation.  Ask how they are doing before asking for their donation.  Even if they can’t give this year they will for sure remember your care and interest next time around.

6.  Relationship Building.  Remember that donors are part of your organization’s family.  Build and maintain this relationship.  Maintain contact with them, show interest in them beyond their donation, and acknowledge their personal life events. 

Donors say “yes” more often in the fall. They should be celebrated for that.   Developing relationships with people who are interested in your cause will enhance your organization.  The potential result is increased revenue per donor and increased donor retention rates.  

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