Toni Gregory, Content Marketing Specialist at Blackbaud Europe offers expert advice on planning end-of-year fundraising campaigns
2020 hasn’t been a standard year for fundraising. Planned fundraising activities have been substantially disrupted due to COVID-19, with more than 50% of charities having to cancel or postpone events and a further 65% anticipating income from challenges to decrease this year. This is all the more reason why you need to prioritise your end-of-year campaign.
December has historically been the biggest month of the year for giving, with the most recent Blackbaud Charitable Giving Report showing that 35% of online giving took place in the last three months of 2019 - with 18% of all giving taking place during December alone. This year is predicted to be just as generous, if not more so, than 2019.
A year-end campaign, when strategically planned, should have a positive impact on your overall income totals. This will let you know what available funds you have going into the new year. Hopefully, the traditional generosity of the festive season will mean you start off 2021 on the best foot possible.
This can great for your charity and the mission it represents. It’s also extremely important for boosting individual morale. Your teams have adapted to a new way of working this year, with 24% of fundraising professionals working from home for the first time. Creating a successful year-end campaign that you’re proud of is an amazing way to end 2020.
Finally, it’s the ideal moment to engage both existing donors (including the lapsed ones) and prospects, using a well-thought-out stewardship plan to cultivate repeat support and deepen their affinity to your mission. Putting this into place as part of your year-end campaign is especially important. It’s the final opportunity in the calendar year to strengthen existing supporter relationships, as well as a chance to bring new donors on a year-round supporter journey.
End-of-year campaigns offer so much potential, both in terms of supporter engagement and income generation. That’s why Blackbaud have created an updated End-Of-Year Toolkit – your ultimate step-by-step guide to planning a highly successful year-end campaign. The guide is filled with resources such as marketing models, tips, insights from our in-house experts, and checklists.
The toolkit provides a methodical approach to ensuring that you’ve covered all of your bases, leaving nothing to chance. Key sections include:
It may be tempting to dive headfirst into your year-end campaign. However, by taking the time to lay a strong, thought-out foundation now, you can save time in the long run. This section asks you the key questions that you need to consider. It helps you to identify key blockers early on, and also provides you with practical marketing models that will help you to easily analyse the strengths and opportunities at your charity’s fingertips.
Your supporters understand and absorb information in different ways depending on whether they are a visual, kinaesthetic or auditory learner. Storytelling is a powerful tool which, when used correctly, combines elements that capture the attention of all types of learners. This section shares the key elements that you need to include in your story. It also includes key dates that you need to factor into your campaign’s promotion.
Letters, emails, phone calls, social media posts, virtual coffee meetings—you need to take advantage of every touchpoint your organisation has so that you can facilitate engagement and donations at every turn. This section also includes a multichannel worksheet so that you can brainstorm the best ways to utilise each available channel.
The new digital landscape presented by COVID-19 should be looked at as an opportunity to get creative and try new methods of connecting with supporters. We share eight strategies that you can incorporate into your stewardship planning, from traditional phone calls (a short call to a donor within two days of giving means they’re around four times more likely to give to you again) to video messaging and social shoutouts.
Don’t focus on if you’re starting your planning later than intended. Instead, follow the steps and support offered in the toolkit and direct your energy towards creating the best end-of-year campaign possible in the time available.
The full toolkit is available now to download on the Blackbaud Resources Hub