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8 Ways to Start Preparing for Giving Season

Samantha Hunter
Published:  09/29/2021

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Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

Though it’s hard to believe, the year-end giving season is just around the corner. Giving season is a massive deal for philanthropy teams and foundations, attributing to most of the year’s donations in just a few days. It’s a great way to help you reach your fundraising goals, but it requires plenty of thought and planning.

According to Neon One, 53 percent of nonprofits start planning for their year-end appeals in October, and 7 percent begin as early as September! That means if you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about how your year-end campaign should look. 

Here are eight steps to help you get started:

1. Start Planning Early

Good news, by reading this post, you’ve already started! It’s essential to start early to make sure everything later in the year runs smoothly. Also, the sooner you plan your campaign, the sooner you can launch it. 

Almost all nonprofits across all industries run year-end campaigns. That means you won’t be the only person reaching out to donors. The earlier you can get in front of your audience, the better.

2. Review Your 2020 Campaign

Start by reviewing the campaign you ran last year. You can look at what worked well and what didn’t. Your previous year-end campaign will give you good benchmarks for setting this year’s strategic goals. 

Here are a few things to look into:

  • How many people did you send your year-end appeals to?
  • How many individual gifts did you receive, and through what channels?
  • How much money in total did you raise? Did you meet your final goal?
  • What percentage were major gifts?

3. Assess Where You Are

After you’ve reviewed your 2020 campaign, you should spend some time checking where you are this year. But, first, you need to understand how close you are to reaching your fundraising goal and what’s required to close the gap. 

Next, you should take a look at where you are with this year’s budget. How much money do you have to execute a year-end campaign? That can help inform your campaign strategy later on.

4. Set Goals

Setting clear goals is crucial for any type of campaign planning. The most common way to set goals is to follow the well-established SMART method. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Setting SMART goals helps your team stay on track and provides a clear set of expectations for any campaign.

5. Think About Your Target Audience

Like I mentioned earlier, pretty much every nonprofit runs a year-end giving campaign. That means it’s more important than ever to think about who your target audience is and how to best engage with them.

You can’t come up with a good message if you haven’t spent the time figuring out who you’re speaking to. Your donor personas can come in handy here. Adding a personalized element to your appeal can be that thing that makes them feel a connection to your cause.

6. Determine a Campaign Theme

Now that you’ve identified your target audience, it’s time to think about your campaign theme. You have to determine a theme before developing messaging. A campaign theme will help tie together all of your year-end giving efforts. Storytelling is essential here. Working in healthcare provides the opportunity to tell powerful stories that will resonate with donors.

7. Create a Timeline

You should aim to keep your year-end giving campaign right around six weeks. If you run a campaign for too long, you will eventually lose your audience’s attention. Since most giving happens in December, make sure you keep that in mind when you start to plan. 

Along with the timeline, you should make sure to outline everyone’s roles and responsibilities. Doing this upfront will ensure nothing falls through the cracks and that everyone knows what they are responsible for.

8. Plan a Thank-you Campaign

Last but probably the most critical step, plan your thank-you campaign. You need to show donors how much you appreciate their gift and how your organization will use it. People are donating to your organization because your mission resonates with them, and they want to give back to the community. The thank-you campaign is how you build long-lasting relationships with your donors.

NEWS  /07/14/21
Why simply achieve your campaign goal when you can structure them to be an immediate and lasting force multiplier for your community and your mission?
NEWS  /04/12/21
How donor personas can help you find and connect with your audience.
NEWS  /08/30/21
No matter what type of donor you are trying to reach, we have tips to help you speak directly to your audience effectively.

Meet The Author

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Samantha Hunter
Association for Healthcare Philanthropy

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