2 min Read
February 18, 2016

Five high-value ways to help prep for next year-end fundraising season

With the year-end fundraising season behind us, you might still be basking in fundraising glory, or perhaps you’re reflecting on what could have helped your organization raise more money.

A smart and effective year-end campaign takes time to prepare and implement—and we recommend you start thinking about it as early as possible (hint: don’t start planning it in November a week before your direct mail piece needs to drop). The good news is that you’ve got time—but there are simple, high-value steps you should take now to ensure you are better positioned to make your 2016 year-end campaign a success.

Consider tackling these five tasks before next year fundraising season:

1. Improve your online donation experience. Take a test drive of what it’s like to make a donation on your website. Is your donate button easy to spot on your homepage? Can you get to a donation page within one click from your homepage? Is your donation form simple and clean? Is it as easy as possible to complete a transaction? All of these factors play a role in increasing the likelihood that when potential donors come to your website, they’re likely to actually complete a gift. So if you answered “no” to any of of these questions, get started making changes now!

2. Explore A/B testing. Most email service providers these days allow A/B testing, and if you haven’t experimented with it yet, give it a try now. Testing is a way to decipher what messages, content, subject lines, photography (and much more!) get better engagement than others. So when you’re crafting year-end appeals, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions based on real data about what messages are bound to resonate with your community.

3. Clean up your list. This is one of those tasks that’s not fun in the moment, but is so healthy for you! Cleaning up and organizing your email list and direct mail list can be time-intensive and tedious, but super useful in the long-term. Remove inactive subscribers from your email list to improve deliverability as well as performance rates, and ensure that your constituent records are as complete as possible before year-end rolls around again.

4. Grow your list with quality leads. Take steps this year to increase the size of your list with good quality fundraising leads. Make it as easy as possible to capture email addresses on your website—a prominent email capture on your homepage should be up there on your list if it isn’t already. Are you giving website visitors a compelling reason to sign up for your email list, and following up with engaging content? If not, get started on optimizing your email signup process.

5. Ask your community to take action. To keep your donors engaged between fundraising campaigns, and give your audiences new ways to become a part of your work, ask your community to take action with you in other ways than making a donation.  Studies have shown that people are far more likely to donate to your organization if they’ve already taken some sort of action with you. What other simple and meaningful actions can you ask your community to take to help support your cause and advance your mission? When you promote the action—whether it’s a quiz, a survey, a request for a personal story—be sure to also including an email capture so you’re growing your list at the same time.

Which of these five steps above do you commit to trying out this year?

Ally Dommu

Ally Dommu is the Director of Service Development, Worker-Owner at Big Duck

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