Crazy as it seems 2015 is knocking at the door. Yes, we still need to celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza and New Years Eve. But, really, 2015 is almost here. And the question is: how is your nonprofit fundraising? Whether you are an employee or a board member, here are a few steps you can take today to change your yearend financial outcomes.
Staff. Take the time to create a yearend appeal letter for distribution to those who have given to your organization in the past. Be sure to send to those you serve and those you met during the year. Always send to lapsed donors. Highlight the impact your organization has made in 2014 and most importantly share your vision for 2015. Ask for a specific amount. Include a return envelope. Create an online appeal that ties to your appeal letter. Review and refine your e-communication list. Test to make sure your online giving page is easy to use and easy to find. Take the time to plot out how you will use social media to encourage giving. Create the tools that board members, friends and volunteers can use to encourage those they know to give. Include sample text for email messages, tweets, and Facebook posts; links to specific pages on your website or blog (don’t forget your “donate now” page); and most importantly share photos and SHORT engaging videos. We all love images!
Volunteers. Now is the time to be proactive. It is easy to wait for staff to give you all the information you need: that is often a plan for not making the ask. Instead, decide for yourself which actions you will take between now and the end of the year to help raise funds for your nonprofit. Are there two people you can talk with, sharing your nonprofit’s impact, vision and fundraising priorities? Will you ask each to consider a gift? Here’s encouragement: too many people don’t give because they aren’t asked. Others give small gifts because they aren’t asked to make a larger gift. Or they receive a direct mail letter instead of an in-person ask, and their gift reflects the method of solicitation. Take the time to make a well prepared ask of a few people. Don’t be self conscious, there is no such thing as “making” people give. Ask for a specific amount for a specific purpose, be quiet and wait for their response. Asking in person is always important, but social media and email is another way to engage potential donors, especially if you are part of an active network. You can share your nonprofit’s social media campaign, you can create your own appeal, directing people to your nonprofit’s giving page.
Don’t be afraid to ask. Your community depends on you.
Image courtesy of taesmileland at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.