2 min Read
November 17, 2015

What to do before making the hard asks

Big Duck

It’s mid-November, so many of you are probably at a good point in planning out your year-end fundraising. We know you’re pretty eager to start making those big asks, but before you do, you might want to check in with your supporters in a more low-key way.

The average nonprofit sends 7.5 fundraising emails in December. Multiply that by the roughly four organizations your donor probably gives to, then add in e-newsletters, petitions, communications from organizations she is interested in but doesn’t yet give to—it can be easy for your ask to get lost in the mix.

So what can you do about it? The bottom line is that your constituents are the most engaged with your organization and cause right after they have taken action. Activists are seven times more likely to donate, compared to supporters who haven’t taken action yet. If your supporters take some kind of action for your organization, it means they have taken the time to actively pay attention and send a signal that they care about your mission and your work.

That’s why incorporating non-monetary actions into any fundraising campaign is worth some serious consideration, and when it comes to the year-end season, it should definitely be a priority.

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to make sure your supporters are engaged. That might mean asking them to sign a pledge or petition, take a quiz, or share a message on social media. Tying an easy engagement action into a Thanksgiving message is a great way to remind your supporters why your cause is important and why they care

By taking advantage of that quieter moment, you will prime your supporters to notice and respond to your emails in December. And this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also consider mixing lighter asks or engagements like eCards with optional donation asks into your December calendar—but open rates tend to drop in December because of email volume, so you’ll get more bang for your buck (so to speak) out of a late November message.

Something else to keep in mind: remember that the question is, are your supporters engaged? If you regularly send advocacy emails or just ran an awareness campaign, your constituents may already be there. In that case, it may make more sense to send them a message just to give them some love. After all, it’s all about donor love.

Seen any great examples of early engagement actions this season? Last season? Let us know in the comments!