How To Make Your Year-End Appeal Stand Out So You Bring In More Donations

Jackie SmithNovember 17, 2021

Year-End Appeal

If you’re like most nonprofit professionals, you’re probably wondering how to improve your year-end appeals to make the most of this important time of year

While tried-and-true fundraising techniques like telling a great story and appealing to a donor’s logic and emotions are important, this year I also recommend getting personal to help your appeal stand out.

Here’s how you can get personal when designing your end-of-year appeals.

Segment your donors.

Segmenting your donors allows you to create custom messages for specific audiences. This often leads to increasing your average gift size, response rate, and net revenue. 

When segmenting your donors, use custom asks based on your donor’s past gift amounts. Use these asks both in your appeal itself and, if applicable, on your reply device. For example, when talking to your monthly donors, make sure that you mention the impact their monthly gift is having. 

Why does that matter? If you send them a generic appeal that also mentions that they have the option to give monthly when they’re already doing so, it can make them feel like you don’t really appreciate how they’re impacting your mission.

Likewise, send different appeals to each group based on which messages and campaigns they’ve responded to in the past

Tip: If you haven’t segmented your donors before, a good place to start is by breaking your donors down into at least four groups: major donors, mid-level donors, general donors, and monthly donors.

Use your donor’s name and personalize the appeal in other ways. 

If you aren’t already using their first name in your appeal, you need to change that ASAP! 

Beyond using their name at the beginning of the appeal, there are several other ways to use their name throughout your appeal. For starters, you can include it at the start of an important paragraph, like the one that includes your ask. You can also put it on your response device. This will draw attention to key places and keep them engaged with your message

Another great way to draw attention to the fact that you know your donor is to include a handwritten note—or one that appears to be handwritten—with their name in the header of the letter. You should also consider using other handwritten “call outs” in other key places in your letter. 

Reach out to your donors in multiple ways. 

If you have the bandwidth or a software solution that can help you manage this without too much hassle, create a custom video for your top 50 to 100 donors. In the videos, use their name, thank them for the specific donation they made recently and for supporting you over the years, and highlight a specific giving opportunity they may want to support this year. 

No matter how you deliver the video to them, make sure you include a call to action that points them to an easy way to give. 

Another way to get in touch with your donors is to pick up the phone and call them. But don’t just ask them to give! Use this as a time to connect with them on a personal level.

One last tip: Plan how to thank your donors after the campaign ends and thank them as soon as possible. If you don’t thank your donors and show that you appreciate the individual impact they’re making, they may not support your mission in the future.

Just like with your year-end appeals, the more personal you can make this thank you message, the better. Include their gift amount, a handwritten note, a personal video, or use any of the tips above to ensure that your thank you message is just as personal as your ask.

Schedule a live demo with our partner Bloomerang, and we’ll show you how easy it is to create and automate reports, utilize online and offline fundraising tools, quickly integrate and access all your data, and ultimately create more time to engage your donors.

Filed Under:   Fundraising