Written By: Olivia Baldwin - Dec 4, 2018

The Building Blocks for Successful Year-End Appeals

The final fundraising month of 2018 is already upon us! How fast did this year go by?! Many of you are undoubtedly getting ready to drop your year-end appeals. This appeal is the last effort to secure any remaining gifts, second, or even third gifts! It’s also the opportunity to thank those who have already given or pledged their support.

Segmentation-savvy organizations send different appeals to different audiences. However, all appeals, regardless of recipient, should incorporate the following components to ensure success. Below are the building blocks for a successful year-end appeal:

Personalize your appeal for different audiences by shaping the message differently for donors vs. non-donors. Segment your donors by giving amount/level, by constituent code, and maybe even by fund. Likewise, acquisitions should be messaged differently than SYBUNTS or LYBUNTS. Finally, take into account the solicitation preferences and demographics of your audience in your delivery method (email versus snail mail).

Get creative with your appeal. You don’t have to spend a fortune on glossy inserts or full-size pictures to make an impact on your audience. Consider enhancing your appeal by using a full range of methods like postcards, emails, YouTube videos linked to your webpage, Facebook, and more. Not only are these generally more fun to look at, but they are much cheaper than your standard mailer, and more engaging.

Reflect on all the wonderful things your organization has done this year through the generosity of your donors. What were some of your biggest accomplishments? Did something new or exciting happen? What was different about this year than years past? Your constituents want to know what your organization has been up to, whether it be hearing about a large project that was finally funded or a touching story.

Thank those who have supported your mission this year, whether they are donors, volunteers, partners, or even event sponsors. Share your success stories to show the impact of their support. Let your supporters know just how much they mean to you. Make them feel so good about giving that they want to continue to give year after year.

Ask those who have not yet made their gift this year to do so. Present your case for support in a way that is clear and concise. How far away are you from meeting your fundraising goal? In what specific way will their gifts make an impact? Provide clear examples to show the impact of their support, using personal stories to draw your audience in.

What are some tips that you have for successful year-end appeals? What’s working for you? Are there things you’ve tried that maybe you wouldn’t try again? We’d love to hear from you! As always, our services team is always here to help!

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About Olivia Baldwin

Olivia is the Operations Manager for the Professional Services Team at Omatic Software, where her specialties include resource management and project management for enterprise-level engagements. Olivia has worked for Omatic since 2012, and prior to joining Omatic, Olivia managed the reunion campaign program for The Citadel Foundation, an organization that supports The Citadel Military College of South Carolina. Like most nonprofit professionals, she wore many hats including fundraising performance reporting, direct mail and volunteer coordination, event planning, and website content management. Olivia has six years of nonprofit experience and twelve years of Raiser's Edge experience. She also holds a bachelor's degree in communication from the College of Charleston and is a PMI-certified Project Management Professional.