According to Charity Navigator, 31 percent of annual giving occurred in the month of December last year and donations made on Giving Tuesday rose 148 percent. As these statistics demonstrate, successful year-end communication is essential to many nonprofit organizations.
But how can your organization make sure that potential donors see your message above the noise of the holidays and other year-end appeals? Follow these five guidelines to make your year-end communications plan a success.
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Find Your Hook
In order to get your message in front of potential donors, you must give them an incentive to open it.
Online communication requires a catchy subject line or title to entice readers to click further. And once they open the message, make sure they keep reading with an interesting introduction that draws your readers in.
For direct mail solicitations, skip the plain white envelope and instead opt for something that stands out. Whether it’s a brightly colored standard envelope, an oversized envelope or a postcard, pick a mailer that intrigues the recipient and urges them to look at the message inside.
Tell A Story
The end of the year is often an emotionally charged time, so make the most of potential donors’ goodwill. An inspirational story can invoke powerful emotions that can drive us to action. By demonstrating the good your organization is doing, you create an emotional connection to your potential donors that can’t be forged with statistics alone.
The strongest stories use words to paint vivid images, giving your reader a chance to visualize your organization’s impact and feel the passion and drive behind your mission.
In addition to the story’s text, graphic elements can also enhance your year-end communications. Inspiring photos, informative infographics and graphic quotes work to enhance your message and engage your readers.
Make Connections Between Communications Platforms
After you have your story in place, spread the message across various marketing channels. Your year-end communications plan should include several communication channels working in unison.
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Work backwards from year-end to plan when and where each message should be disseminated. Scheduling tools, like Hootsuite or Buffer, give you the ability to schedule posts on all of your social networks in advance. Consider how an e-mail series connects to social media posts, in addition to those channels’ relationship with your organization’s direct mail appeals.
Emphasize the connection between the potential donor and the organization by making each communication as personalized as possible. This requires in-depth knowledge of your readers, which is why your year-end communications plan should include an analysis of your current donor data.
Understanding your audience will allow your organization to tailor your year-end communication specifically to current and potential donors. Think about how your current donors interact with your organization and what types of stories inspire them to create the most effective communications plan for that group.
Make It Urgent
The end of the year and #GivingTuesday have built-in deadlines. Use those dates to create a sense of urgency for your readers. (If you’re using CauseVox to power your campaigns, we’ve built this feature in).
Incentives for instant giving are also great ways to entice your reader to give right away. Promoting matching gift drives or demonstrating progress toward fundraising goals through graphics are powerful motivators for potential donors.
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