The holidays often raise emotions in us that have been stirring for months. They come to a head when we are faced with family visits, holiday shopping, and managing workloads through the on-again, off-again professional schedule that November and December inevitably bring. Add to this the very real difficulty of managing these seasonal efforts in the face of a global pandemic!
As event planners and fundraisers (often one and the same), we have another unique set of activities that can be fraught with emotion: end of year fundraising and all it entails. If you’re like me and are connected to many, many (too many?) event and fundraising websites and organizations – all of which have brought a plethora of training to our inboxes over the past many months – then you’ve been invited, cajoled, brow-beaten and hammered with any number of year-end programs that promise to be the ONLY way to make your end of year efforts bear fruit.
I have a folder in my email entitled “Other Online” and it is stuffed with courses, webinars, and offers for fundraising miracles. I’ve attended many, read numerous blogs, and followed online leaders of the industry and I’ve come to the realization that no matter the advice of the well-informed presenter the answer for most of us is much simpler than complicated analytics or clever storytelling: know your audience.
No one knows your constituency better than you do. There is something in your mission that invited them in long before the pandemic sent us all home. I’m not saying that the many online options to learn aren’t useful because many are. But when it comes down to it, YOU have the secret ingredient for your best marketing plan.
Go back and look at your most successful campaigns. Read through your donor list. Consider the time of year and reach out in gratitude to those who have been part of your goals for so long and thank them for seeing you through these difficult months. Thank them for never wavering in their support of your objectives and offer them the opportunity to give once more before the end of the calendar year.
These last months have given us the opportunity to innovate and learn new skills for virtual events and online fundraising. I am grateful to those who have brought new ideas and have eased the way for many of us to keep going. But the upshot of a well-planned fundraising campaign is, and always has been authenticity.
Be ‘you’ and use the language that you know communicates your cause to all the connections you have made over the years. And don’t forget to utilize all those wonderful technological skills you have developed in recent months to their best advantage. Keep it simple and authentic and you’ll undoubtedly meet – and likely exceed – your end of year objectives.