The holiday season starting from the end of November to the end of December is the most prolific time of giving. It is estimated that 25% or more of giving takes place starting from Thanksgiving to the end of December. Additionally, with the popularity of Giving Tuesday which has been started as a day of giving and popularized by social media as #givingtuesday donors are most likely to make contributions during this time. For this reason it is imperative that nonprofits prepare for their most active giving season.
Five Ways Non Profits Can Prepare For The Holidays.
Prepare Your Appeal Letter or Emails in October
If your appeal letter or email is received during the prime season it is already too late. Because the holidays are such a crucial time of fundraising for many organizations, there is a lot of competition for the attention of your potential donors. Additionally, stores are also competing for their share of your donor’s attention. Although they may have made a donation previously if a competing appeal reaches them first it may sway them to give to that non-profit first.
Consider Using An Email Sending Service
In recent years with the advent of email marketing many non-profits have embraced it for their campaigns. Email marketing has a comparable conversion rate to most direct mail. However, the most important number is the ROI. Direct mail from printing, design and postage has a larger expense than email. In a recent study by Hubspot it showed that when marketers used email only they were able to get $27 for every dollar spent, which translates to about 95x times improvement. Additionally, an email sending service has better analytics to show you how your appeal is doing. Traditional, direct mail can only tell you if your donor makes a donation. This is not enough to give you a true understanding of your donor’s behavior. Through an email sending vendor the analytics can show you what your donor did when they received it. It shows if emails were opened and it can show what type of behavior they took. It can also show if they clicked and make it to the site. This gives you valuable behavior information so that you can make your campaigns better.
Make It Easier To Donate
Givegab states that Tech Report NGO study shows that “72% of millennials, 66% of Gen. X and 54% of baby boomers prefer to make their donations online”. You may have generous donors and they may respond to your holiday appeal but if it is difficult to make that donation it will severely curtail your fundraising efforts. In your direct mail or email make sure to provide a URL that directly leads to the giving page. Every time a user has to go through other pages or has to decipher where the giving page is it will lose that user. Make sure that the donation button is large and vibrant.
Emphasize The Tax Breaks Of Their Year End Donation
One of the reasons many Americans make donations at the end of the year is to lower their taxable income and also to do something good. According to the IRS any donor who makes a donation of more than $250 should receive a receipt. Based on what our accountants have said those making an online donation will receive a receipt from our payment processor Paypal. That receipt via email should suffice for tax purposes. However, it is good to emphasize that if a donor requires a written or official receipt on the organization’s letter head than it is a good practice to clearly make this available.
Appeal To Your Donor About What You See For This Coming Year
Many non-profits make the mistake of appealing based on the current need or bill however based on experience it is important to understand that donors don’t respond to need as much as vision. Donors will always give toward a vision so it is important that in the months previous to the holiday season that you are getting your goals ready for the coming year. Donors respond better when they see that they are making an investment in an organization that is moving forward instead of just maintaining.