** This article first appeared in “Fundraising Success” and can be found here. **
Summer is finally here, and all I can think about is November and December. Winter is, coincidentally, the hottest time of year for those of us in direct marketing.
Reviewing the year-end fundraising results referenced in the Blackbaud 2013 Charitable Giving Report of 4,129 participating nonprofit organizations representing $12.5 billion in total fundraising, the months of “October, November and December accounted for more than a third of the year’s overall charitable giving (33.6 percent),” with the highest percentage (17.5 percent) coming in the month of December in the U.S.
The report also revealed that “overall charitable giving grew 4.9 percent on a year-over-year basis,” the largest year-over-year increase since the recession. Notably, online giving also reached the year’s high in December, accounting for 18.8 percent of 2013’s online gifts with almost every sector raising more than 20 percent of its online giving during December.
The Network for Good Year-End Fundraising Essentials guide of online giving noted that “in 2012, 10 percent of all donation dollars came in on the last three days of the calendar year. The vast majority of those donation dollars were contributed directly on charity websites.”
It’s during year-end when organizations strategically put their best appeals forward — or some variations thereof. Dare we project improved results for the 2014 year-end campaigns over last year? Yes!
And there’s no reason to leave it to chance when a treasure trove of 2012-2013 stats, best-performing formats and strategies for improving year-end results is available for reference.
Broadly recapping the advice of industry experts on how to cultivate and retain donors, it’s about creating a positive experience through multichannel touches that are relevant, integrated, coordinated and easy to interpret (as in “take this action”). The overall experience, if nurtured, invites increased engagement. You’ll have the attention of your donors at year-end if you do a good job of acknowledging what they’ve shared with you during the months and years preceding. Consider these tips:
Another gem worth considering is the Avalon Consulting FYI Blog post on “Planning for Year-End Appeals,” by TJ Hillinger: