The Journey Before Year-End Part 1: 5 Strategies to Get Exceptional Year-End Fundraising Results

(This is the first in a two-part series on laying the groundwork in September and October for better than expected year-end fundraising results.)

The pressure is on: You have to raise more money this year-end than ever before. You need some new approaches to stand out in this noisy and crowded fundraising period. You’re hitting a wall for ideas.
Does this sound familiar?

  • With 31% of donations being made in December, there’s going to be a lot of inbox fundraising requests and online ads – and you don’t want yours to be ignored.
  • GivingTuesday is November 28th and you want people to pay attention to your request first.
  • More and more organizations are pushing out their year-end fundraising asks on social and email beginning in November.

So how do you get noticed? What can you do?
Rather than compete for your donors’ attention during November and December when the space is crowded, start now engaging in a conversation with them. You will then have their focus at year-end.
Think about the journey you want to take a supporter on before year-end:

  • What is the digital conversation you can have with them that conveys they are someone special
  • What are you doing with their help that is important to them?
  • How are you communicating that you personally care that they care? 

Here are five strategies to build your organization’s journey before year-end:

1.     Convey warmth: Conveying warmth helps shape people’s understanding of your work and their role in it. Warmth can quickly connect a follower to your mission and impact. It makes your work more personal and authentic. One way to convey warmth is through stories and images that show the emotion and impact of your work. Invite people to share one word that comes to mind when they look at an image. Or ask them to share a memory of a time in their life that inspired them to support your work.

2.    Be grateful: Where would you be without your donors and supporters? Make sure they know they’re the heroes of your organization. Show what their support makes possible. Create a photo gallery filled with stories and images of your work in action. Add video to bring it all to life.

3.    Listen and adapt: Seed content on social, watch for what works and then post more like that. Use the ‘big winners’ -- what lots of people like, view and share – to inform email content and to create a “surround sound” of messages.

4.    C.O.P.E with year-end: When we say cope, we mean C.O.P.E., Create Once Publish Everywhere. As you create online content, be prepared to publish it everywhere, including email, social, advertising and through other distribution channels such as Medium and YouTube. Package your stories for each platform and be consistent with your messaging, images and Calls To Action.

5.    Cross-promote: Your people are on multiple channels, so cross-promote on email what’s happening in social and vice versa. Use September and October to get your audience connected in more than one channel so you create the opportunity to communicate with them in multiple places. When it comes time to ask them for support, they’ll see it in more than one channel.

We know the pressure of year-end fundraising firsthand. Take some of the pressure off yourself by preparing meaningful journeys for your donors now. Those connections will pay off in November and December when your donors and prospective donors will appreciate knowing the impact they’ve made and how much your organization values them.

Look out for Part Two in this series where we’ll offer a calendar full of ideas to use over the next couple months. In the meantime, reach out to Causemo if you’re ready to plan your donor’s journey!

Continue on and read the second part of this series, "The Journey Before Year End Part 2: Engaging Donors, Converting Prospects and Increasing Revenue."

You also might want to read more about engagement strategies for your past supporters, "A More Effective Way to Activate Lapsed Donors."