556 & counting

Posted on December 31, 2014

556.  That is the number of e-mails I have received so far in December requesting my support.  I say so far because even though it will be January and 2015 in around 10 hours I expect a few more e-mails.  As a nonprofit leader I understand that if you don’t ask people are unlikely to give.  30% of giving takes place in December and the majority of that in the last week.  I also understand that people often procrastinate and a reminder often gets them to respond.  A few thoughts and suggestions (in no particular order):
  •  If you don’t get the response you want or need it may make sense to send another e-mail.  However, sending one a day or three a week is never a good idea.  You may get the results you want which meets your immediate goal but the odds are you will gets lots of people to unsubscribe, impacting long term goals.
  • Try to differentiate yourself.  Be original.  Tell prospective donors and how their support will make a difference.
  • Don’t say gifts will be matched if you don’t actually have a donor matches them.  This may seem obvious but a lot of people do it and some do it annually.
  • If possible use multiple platforms.  E-mail, direct mail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your website and blog…the more the better.  be sure to modify the message for the medium.
  • Report back.  Let your donors know how you did and how their support impacts your work.
  • Send them a thank you note and acknowledgement.  It’s always bad when a donor needs to reach out to an agency to request acknowledgment of a gift.  If possible personalize the note.   
  • Understand that as awesome as your agency is- and it awesome!- that there are many wonderful organizations in the community.
  • Make sure you have permission to use quotes and pictures.  It’s better to use real pictures instead of stock photos.  Don’t make up quotes and if you do (not I advocate that) may them realistic.
  • Be happy with what you get.  Yes some donors may cut their gifts and you may think or want some to give you more but at least they gave you.  They actively included you in their charitable giving. 
  • Realize that there is a life cycle of giving and the goal is to actively engage people in your important work.
  • Don’t be mean.  Even if you win you lose.  If they give you a gift the damage you have done far outweighs that, regardless of the size of the gift.

 These ideas may be too late for 2014 but you can already start planning your game plan for next December.

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