2 min Read
August 1, 2011

The pre-game show to your year-end appeal.

Big Duck

Six tips to get your campaign rolling

There’s no time like an August heat wave to start up your year-end campaign planning.

No, we’re not just being overachievers. When we do year-end campaigns for our clients, the many pieces we’re weaving together—overarching concept, direct mail, email series or messages, splash page, donation landing page, and more—require that we begin now. Or at least now-ish.

The summer months tend to be the ideal time to do some exploration and prime your year-end campaign pump, so that when the time comes to get a move on, you’re ready. You’ll also thank yourself come the colder months when things get really hectic. Here are six tips for getting the ball rolling.

  1. Look at your website through a donor’s eye. If all goes well with your year-end appeal, scores of supporters will flock to your website. Will they like what they see? We’re not talking about getting into a full-scale redesign, but take this opportunity to swap out those two-year-old photos on the homepage and update the copy inviting visitors to last year’s gala.
  2. Make a test donation. Navigate to your website, and make a $10 donation to your own organization. Is the donate button clear and easy to find? Is the form usable, and not too long? Have you customized the thank-you page and automated email messages?
  3. Cultivate your donor relationships through social media. Now is a great time to build and reinforce connections with your community through regular Facebook posts and tweets. Make sure you don’t just promote yourselves, though—ask interesting questions, share relevant updates, and show your appreciation. When your appeal lands in their inboxes and mailboxes four months from now, your supporters will be up to speed and ready to listen to your case for support.
  4. Start brainstorming. A strong year-end appeal grows out of a powerful concept and reinforces that concept at each touch point—on your website, in your emails, in your direct mail cards and letters, on your Facebook Page, and over the phone. What story will you tell with your year-end appeal? For guidance, check out these suggestions for a productive brainstorm that we shared last summer.
  5. Get your cameras out. Nothing tells a story like a great photo, and you don’t want to be left scrambling when you need the perfect picture to accompany your tug-at-the-heartstrings email appeal. Rebecca recently wrote up some great tips for taking strong photos on a tight budgetover on the Duck Call.
  6. Upgrade your toolset. If you’re thinking of weaving texting into your year-end campaign, or exploring a new program to let you send blast emails to your supporters, or changing up any of your tools and systems, now’s the time to research solutions and set up your accounts, so that you’re fluent and all the bumps are ironed out when the curtain goes up.

A lot goes into a year-end appeal, especially when you make it multichannel. So here are a few past Duck Ponds and posts from the Duck Call you might find useful, if you’re ready to dig deeper: