Over 50 percent of all nonprofits receive the majority of their annual funding during the holiday season. Is your organization poised to maximize year-end donations? Implement your marketing strategies now as you prepare to increase your donations this holiday season.
1. Spruce Up Your Website
Make your website attractive when you perform a few housekeeping tasks. Update it to ensure it’s mobile-friendly, optimize the copy with relevant keywords, and check the links to ensure they work properly. Create a large, colorful and clickable donation button; and keep the donation form short and sweet.
2. Update Your Social Media Sites
Get your social media platforms — including your blog, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts — updated for the holiday giving season. Share your mission, post information about how you plan to use the donations you receive, and plan consistent, engaging holiday-related posts.
3. Create Themed Infographics
Reach your visual donors with infographics that combine pictures and data. Include statistics on your services that impact your donors and encourage them to give.
- “We’ve cut pet homelessness in half this year!”
- “Our tutoring program has helped half of the kids in our community stay in school.”
4. Post Videos
Visual content is easy to digest and appeals to your donor’s senses and emotions. Make several high-quality videos, and post them online. The videos can include testimonies from the people your organization helps, appeals from your staff, and fun content about your organization. Remember to include a captivating call to action.
5. Host a Holiday Gala
Meet and connect with donors personally during a holiday gala. You can sell tickets or hold a silent auction as you increase donations and celebrate the season with your supporters.
6. Mobilize Your Email Campaign
Connect with donors via email as you mobilize your campaign. Because 55 percent of all emails are opened on mobile devices, ensure the ones you send are mobile-friendly with subject lines of less than 35 characters. Embrace a serial campaign, too, to potentially quadruple your response rate and double donations. Simply divide your story into beginning, middle and end, and send a different part each week.
7. Increase Campaign “Sharability”
Multiply your outreach when you create shareable content. It should be engaging and unique. Also, include a customized hashtag on all your holiday-related posts as you encourage current and new donors to share and interact with your holiday campaign.
8. Mail Holiday Cards
A genuine holiday card can nurture the relationship you have with current donors. In it, thank them for their ongoing support. You may also wish to add a branded magnet, calendar, ornament or another small gift that shows your appreciation.
9. Ask for Help
Your loyal donors, board members and other friends may be willing to spread your message. Ask them to write or record an appeal for funds, appear at local fundraising events, or go door to door and raise money for the cause in which they believe.
10. Accept In-Kind Gifts
Some of your potential donors may be unable to give cash gifts, so encourage in-kind gifts. Vehicles and annuities are great options. Other suggested options include items such as pet food, school supplies or canned goods that support your organization’s mission and purpose.
11. Emphasize the Tax Benefits
Year-end giving provides your donors with tax benefits. When you ask for donations, remind your donors that their gift is tax deductible as you encourage them to give more.
12. Say Thank You
Recognize your donors as you build strong relationships and encourage future generosity. Send an automated thank you message for each online gift you receive and follow that up with a handwritten note. You may wish to add donors’ names to your website, too, as you say thank you.
13. Maintain Momentum
Most of your organization’s donations may come in during the last three days of the year as your donors finalize their annual charitable giving. Maintain momentum when you consistently post on your blog and social media. Also, share the progress you’re making on your donation goal and emphasize the impact your organization makes as you appeal to your donors.
These steps can increase your organization’s donations this holiday season. Start now to prepare your campaign as you end this year and begin a new one with strong financial footing.
Jeremy Silverstein is Vice President of Operations and Vehicle Dispatching at Goodwill Car Donations. Silverstein has handled tens of thousands of donated vehicles during the five years he’s been with the organization.