Five Things You Can Do Today for a Successful Year End Appeal

Yes, it’s August and year end appeal season seems far away and the last thing you want to think about with everything else that is on your busy development calendar. This year is unique – with the new tax law taking full effect, the ongoing global and local disasters and the mid-term elections, this year may break many nonprofits that don’t plan ahead for the giving season. Below are five quick things you can do today that will help you get the most out of your year end appeal.

  1. Have a plan: If your agency doesn’t have a fund development plan in place, take a few minutes and create one now. Just the act of putting all of your strategies on a calendar can go a long way. Where does the year end appeal fit in the plan? What are the goals? Put it on paper and post it for all in your agency to see. Here is a step by step planning guide that is long but a great resource.
  2. Segment your list: Keeping the donors you already have should be the focus of any fund development plan. Pull your list early of who will get the appeal and segment them out by what makes sense for your agency. Few segment ideas – Friends of the founder (segment out for a personal note from them); Board Members (they should get a highly customized letter); volunteers who are donors (they can help you spread the word to get more supporters). You get the idea, goal is to get to know your donor database inside and out. Network for Good has a great blog on this topic with tips you can use today.
  3. Start thinking about the ask: Will you be asking your supporters to give to new program, to sustain an ongoing initiative, or for general support? Start with what the ask will be and craft your message around that.
  4. Do the stewardship work now: As you did the work in #2, you know who your major donors are. Spend a few weeks focussing on thanking these donors for their past gift. Send a handrwritten thank you note written by a board member that talks about how their past support impacted the organization. Send them a graphic email with a picture that shows their dollars in actiction – Pinterest has an entire board full of ideas on this topic.
  5. Write the thank you letter now: As much emphasis as we place on writing the letter to get the donation in the door, most agencies fall flat with the thank you letter (or many don’t thank at all!). Writing the thank you letter along with the appeal will ensure alignment and a well thought out experience for the donor. Here is a great blog post by Gail Perry on the topic.

Join us on October 25 for a workshop on Fundraising Essential Strategies: Year-End Appeal to learn more on this topic.

Story by

Atashi Chakravarty