How to Prepare For Your Best Year-End Digital Fundraising Season Yet

Chances are if you’re reading this you already know the core components of year-end digital fundraising. However, in the spirit of Internet entrepreneurship and minimizing future regret over things you didn’t do, we thought it was appropriate to dig into the key facts and tactics.


Our (Easy) Predictions

  • Your digital revenue will increase (both in amount and percentage).
  • An outsized proportion of that revenue will come in at the very end of the year.  
  • You will send emails – lots of intricately choreographed and thoughtfully segmented emails – to cajole your supporters.
  • More of your donors will be giving on their mobile devices this year.

You may feel the pressure to deliver during a critical time. Good news! It’s not too late to have a great year-end fundraising season.

Best Practices in Digital Year-End Campaigns:

  1. Stick to a Schedule. Develop an integrated marketing calendar. Coordinate with everyone else in your organization that communicates externally. Maximize response by timing email sends with direct mail drops, social ads, and other communications.
  2. Segment & Personalize. Thank donors specifically for what they’ve done and appeal to their interests. Sending undifferentiated messages to your full file can hinder response, harm your reputation, and weaken donor relationships.
  3. Send Mobile-Friendly Email. The majority of email is read on mobile. Over 77% of U.S. adults own a smartphone. Well-designed, responsive email may be both an art and science, but it’s certainly no longer an option. (Hint: we can help with that!)
  4. Optimize your donation forms for mobile. Over 17% of donations were made on a mobile device in 2016, and this number will only grow. Be concise. Remove unnecessary navigation and page elements. Use large form entry fields, a clean layout with large submit buttons, and a friendly, human tone. In short, make sure your donors know exactly what you want them to do on that page, and that they can accomplish it easily.
  5. Stay off the Email Naughty List (aka “SPAM Jail”). This peculiar purgatory of the Interwebs is never fun, and especially not this time of year. Keep your list clean. Monitor engagement (opens, clicks) and delivery. Suppress delivery to inactive subscribers. Repeatedly sending emails to subscribers who don’t engage will hurt your email response and sender reputation.
  6. Reactivate Inactive Subscribers. In the run-up to year-end, send a series of reactivation emails with content that has produced strong responses or has inherent urgency. Research shows that subscribers targeted by reactivation campaigns are over 5x more likely to re-engage than those who aren’t.
  7. Test & Refine. Develop variations of key email message components such as sender (“from” label), subject line, preheader, email layout, call-to-actions, and copy.
  8. Retarget Your Audience Via Advertising. People have expressed interest in your cause by visiting your page, but less than 2% of visitors complete a desired action. It’s OK to politely follow them around and remind them that the warm, fuzzy feeling they are really looking for is only a click away. Segmentation is critical to making this tactic effective.

Hopefully you are already on your way to a successful year-end digital campaign. If you want to talk about your year-end campaign, or need assistance with any of the tactics noted here, PS Digital is here to help.

Seth Merritt

Senior Digital Account Manager  |  Email Us

Seth has over 15 years of experience in helping causes use technology to connect with supporters and succeed. His experience includes digital marketing, fundraising, strategic consulting, project management, writing, grassroots organizing, and CRM/SaaS technology adoption. Along the way he has been privileged to work with national and local nonprofits, trade associations, citizen advocacy groups, political campaigns, technology startups, and Fortune 100 corporations. He lives with his wife and two children in Williamsburg, VA.

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