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4 Easy Strategies To Help You Have the Best Holiday Fundraising Campaign Ever!

Posted: 10/12/2021

Click here to read on Charity Village.

Sara Hoshooley

With just 80 days left in 2021 (where did the time go!?) Here are a few easy tips to help your organization raise as much as possible this holiday season, and work towards better engagement and relationships with all of your donors.

If your organization is like most Canadian nonprofits, you are just beginning your year-end holiday giving campaign. Whether your organization is large or small, you will likely see a large number of donations from individuals that are given within the last few months of the year.

In fact, some organizations report receiving more than 35% of their annual donations just in the month of December alone!

Below are some suggestions that are mainly focused on donors who give or are connected to you online. Why online? Well, because according to CanadaHelps, in 2020, online giving went up by 86%, across all age demographics.

While there are many ways supporters can choose to support your organization, donating online and using email as the primary communication costs less and is typically easier to implement and test than other methods of fundraising, especially for smaller staff teams.

1. Your supporters WANT to hear from you

When was the last time you reached out to your supporters, donors, and volunteers WITHOUT asking them to do anything? When was the last time you let them know what their support has helped your organization accomplish? Have you thanked your supporters at any time other than when they donated?

The good news is that if you haven't been in touch lately, you can still do this before the holiday giving season really ramps up.

Here's how to do that:

  • Send an email telling your supporters what they helped your organization accomplish today, this week, this month, etc. Ideally this is a story of ONE person or beneficiary. It isn't meant to be a formal report back, but more of a story of how your supporter has helped further your organization's mission.
  • Make it personable, friendly, and sent from a real human.
  • Have a subject line that is short and piques a reader's interest. If your email system allows you to personalize the subject line with the supporter's first name, even better!
  • Don't add too many graphics or use email templates as these can be flagged as "Promotions" or worse, spam.
  • Include an email address, phone number, and name of a person at your organization and let them know they can contact you with any questions or comments.
  • Most importantly – Don't ask them to do ANYTHING

2. Website

Websites tend to have 2 main audiences:

  1. the people who are benefiting from the work you provide and
  2. donors

While the information needed for both these groups can be similar, there are some special areas to consider if you are using your website to encourage people to donate:

What is your website communicating? Is the language inclusive and positive? Is the mission clear? Is it clear how funds are spent? And most importantly, does a donor know why you are raising money and what their donation will help accomplish?

An easy way to test this is to find someone who doesn't know anything about your organization. Give them 60 seconds to look at your website and have them answer these questions:

  • This organization does the following….
  • This is what would happen if they didn't exist…
  • If I donate today, my money will be used for…

3. Donation form

While much of this may feel obvious, according to M+R Benchmarks 2021, 80% of website visitors go to a nonprofit's donate page and then do not give.

Whether that is because the website didn't communicate why a donation is needed, or the donation form wasn't clear, these are some easy shifts to your donation form that can make a big difference in your online donations.

  • Make sure your "Donate" button is easy to find. Design research suggests this should be in a different colour and in the upper right of your webpage as that is where the reader's eyes typically go.
  • Offer impact statements, where possible that highlights what a donation will accomplish (ex "Your gift of $25 empowers a high school student to learn more about STEAM-related careers from someone currently working in the field during a 1-hour session")
  • Your donation form should be easy to complete and only contain content that is required. A donor should be able to complete it in less than 60 seconds. Closer to 30 seconds is even better.

4. Email Solicitations

Once you are finally ready to send out your "ask" email, here are a few tips:

  • Email content should be brief and to the point. The ideal email length is 50-125 words.
  • Be sure to bold, underline and bullet point to make items stand out.
  • Send a follow up email 3-5 days after the first email to anyone who has not yet opened their first email. Vary the subject line slightly so it stands out.
  • Each email should have a story/image from your organization that is different and includes a direct link to donate at least 2 times in the email.
  • First name personalization should be used whenever possible
  • Emails should be sent from a person, not your organization.

By focusing on the lead up activities to your holiday campaign, you can help make this year's campaign the best one yet! These easy to implement ideas can engage your supporters, remind them of why you need their support, and boost your fundraising potential quickly.

Have a fundraising question you like to chat about? You can book a free, 30 minute fundraising strategy call here. Best of luck with your holiday fundraising campaign!

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