6 Months From Today Christmas is All Over . . . Will You Be Ready?

The stressful rush of buying and wrapping presents, decorating and getting groceries amid bad traffic and crowded stores makes us vow to begin our preparations earlier every year! Well, it might only be June, but wouldn’t it be great to plan ahead and be prepared not only for Christmas, but for your year-end giving campaign as well? It is not too early to plan your campaign – let us help you strategize for the best year yet.

We recently joined a webinar by the Pursuant Group entitled “Get Your Year End in Shape” which offered many wise and useful tips for year-end giving planning. We’d like to share some of these tips with you.

Start your planning now. Think ahead and be prepared. Things will only get busier from now until Christmas.  While you may celebrate an anniversary or end of fiscal year at a different time of year, know that the calendar year’s end is always the best time to expect large or one-time donations, as donors are looking to give in December for tax purposes.

Branding is very important. Be consistent. Potential donors must recognize your organization. Keep the same branding on all mediums – print mail, email, your website etc – and make it easily recognizable. Synchronize wherever possible, and know that most donors will seek out your organization online, so in addition to keeping your website current, be aware of the search results a potential donor may find when they look for you online. Consider what a donor’s first impression of your organization might look like.

Minimize distractions. Remove friction. The actual donation process should be as easy and streamlined as possible. For example, keep the online donation process very simple: no more than 2 clicks, and as few required fields as possible. Reduce anxiety about online donations by helping the donor feel that your organization is credible, that their information is secure, and that you have a good privacy policy in place. The donor needs to feel as though they are a part of your campaign. You can accomplish this by customizing your website, forms, and landing pages.

Personalize things. Acknowledge the first time donor. Where possible, insert the donor’s name. Make the donor feel good about their donation. Create an ‘auto-response’ so that the donor receives an email no more than five minutes after their donation. If they are a first time donor, welcome them to the ministry. Reinforce your brand, your mission, and introduce this as the beginning of a relationship. Direct the donor to revisit your website, and use this opportunity to re-engage them.

While the year-end campaign ends in December, January remains a critical time to engage donors. Consider contacting one-time donors and reminding them that monthly donations are needed as well. Treat January as a key month where you may transition one-time December donors to monthly donors for the rest of the year.

It’s never too early to plan for year end, so get in shape this year and make this December your best one yet!

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