Summer is just around the corner and it’s time for BBQ’s, the beach and perhaps a concert or two in the park. It’s also time to start thinking about your organization’s calendar year-end appeal. Really? Yes, truly. Why? It’s important because the year-end appeal generates the most gifts from other mail campaigns that you might produce throughout the year. As we know, people are in the giving spirit during the holidays and they make those year-end contributions for tax benefits as well.
So, why not start early and get a plan together this summer. Most of us who work in development wear many hats. Sometimes it is hard to juggle all the tasks at hand…especially as the holidays approach. We are busy planning holiday open houses, donor gatherings, fall events, stewardship activities….the list continues!
Block out some time for planning in the summer months for year-end…
- What are some of the highlights of the year so far?
- Do you have an amazing story that you want to share about how your organization makes an impact?
- Take time now to interview some of the program staff to hear those stories that impact lives.
Also, start thinking about your list. Who did you mail to last year? What tweaks and improvements can you make to set the stage for success? Spend some time analyzing your data and really take a look at donor retention. To get a true picture of your organization’s donor retention rate, generate a list of last year’s donors and see how many of these donors repeated their gifts this year…According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project released in 2013, most charities saw positive gains in giving but still continued to lose donors faster than they gained them.
Having a good handle on our data and a wonderful, thoughtful story to tell about how our organization makes a difference is at the top of the list for a stellar year end appeal. Cheers to summer…corn on the cob, picnics and pool dates, and…holiday appeals!
Susanna Decker has been a fundraising professional in the Chicago area for close to 25 years…she’s been a part of the Laurus Strategies team for almost three years. She began her career as a grant writer for the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago, spent more than 15 years in a variety of roles raising money for health care related organizations and now focuses on major gift work for various non-profits.
Headquartered in Chicago, Laurus Strategies has a passion for helping nonprofits advance their mission. Laurus Strategies’ Non Profit and Public Affairs Consulting Group provides a wide range of fundraising, strategic planning, training and leadership services with a proven track record of success. Together, the team has over 80 years of experience and has helped clients raise over $650,000,000.