Content & Design
Utilize compelling content and design in your website and in your newsletters to help your organization stand out from others during the giving season. Below are some tips to help you make the most of the end-of-year communications and outreach efforts.
Take Creative License
Think beyond traditional collateral when reaching your constituents this giving season. Afford yourself the opportunity to get innovative with your messaging and design. Develop a theme and carry it throughout all marketing channels. If you are using direct mail, try sending donation requests in brightly colored envelopes that look like gift cards or invitations. If you are sending emails, create an html newsletter with a catchy subject line. Don’t be afraid to generate a little emotion, whether it be tugging at the heart strings of your potential donors or making them laugh… it will make you stand out from the other nonprofits competing for support.
Send a Strong Message
Your call to action in both online and offline outreach should be strong, consistent and easy to find. Try to personalize content as much as possible by including the name of the recipient in your direct communication pieces and segmenting your outreach by supporter interests. Make donation requests relevant to your cause and those who will be assisted by the contribution. For example, instead of asking for a $25 or $50 donation to a homeless shelter, provide a meal coupon requesting a specific amount that will feed 5 people, 10 people or 20 people. Remind supporters how past gifts have brought success to your organization. If they feel good about their prior contributions and can see how they’ve helped, they will be far more likely to give again.
Photos Say a Thousand Words
Less is often more when messaging for support (especially with online communications). Nothing tells a story faster than a compelling image that is depictive of your organization’s mission and programs. Use photos in your website and newsletters to help highlight featured events, staff members and feature supporters of your organization. More importantly, include individual pictures of those who are getting helped, for example – a recently adopted animal, a child whose wish was granted, a family who received a home or a village that just built its first schoolhouse.
The Power of Email
Electronic communications are more cost-effective, easier to send and often provide a greater response rate than direct mail. Well-written emails and e-newsletters are a very important component in your online fundraising efforts. Beyond having a nice looking website, you need to drive people there and tell them WHY they should support your organization. Remember to keep your messaging short by highlighting 2-3 main points and make the paragraphs brief. You can always provide links to a more detailed article on your website.
Help Them Help You
Encourage your supporters to "tell a friend" about your organization by reminding them to forward emails, newsletters or eCards along to their family, friends and colleagues. Provide opportunities for folks to get involved in supporting your cause, without spending money. Whether it be a toy drive, fundraising auction or simply sending solicitations and thank you letters, volunteers can help lighten the burden to your busy employees and make your campaign a greater success.
The two most powerful fundraising words are "Thank you." Beyond sending tax receipts, be sure to thank your supporters appropriately, no matter if they gave time or money. You may consider sending a Thanksgiving or Holiday greeting card to remind past donors and volunteers how much you appreciated their generosity. It’s far easier to generate contributions from previous donors, than it is soliciting for new ones. Acknowledging gifts and volunteer efforts will leave the door open for future support in years to come.
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