For many nonprofits, year-end revenues can account for between 20% and 60% of their annual budget. If your organization relies heavily on these funds, please do not execute your appeal last minute or as a haphazard effort.
In the United States, one-third of charitable giving occurs in the last 3 months of the year, and almost 18% in December alone. The Red Cross, one of the world’s fundraising behemoths, works on their holiday campaign year round, and the United Way already has 2014 Year-End campaign materials available for associations. Even small-to-mid-sized nonprofits should begin strategy and donor cultivation in September, in order to execute their main appeal in late November, to ensure donors are moved to donate during the December giving season.
If this sounds shockingly early, consider that–in addition to raising critical funds–the year-end campaign can draw donors closer to you, expand your base of support, and build general community awareness of your organization and cause. This might sound like a ridiculously optimistic outcome of a single mailing, because it is! That’s why we think your year-end appeals should be reframed as a three-month campaign that:
- Presents your organization’s mission and cause in the most clear and compelling terms by telling an important story well
- Reaches new audiences by building “shareability” into your social and digital media efforts
- Broadens your base of support by soliciting individuals who know you, but haven’t before been given the opportunity–or the cause–to support you.
- Builds engagement and a sense of ownership within your current donor by reminding them of the important work being done through their support.
We’ve published a collection of tips and resources over the last month to help kick-start your thinking and get you started planning and strategizing your high-impact, high-revenue year-end campaign. Please view our blog entries for Year-End Campaign, and view our Year-end Campaign Support Services to learn how Joslyn Creative can help any organization–with any budget–succeed.