This guest post comes from Double the Donation, the organization behind 360MatchPro, which is the industry-leading matching gifts automation solution for nonprofits and educational institutions. Find out how to integrate Engaging Networks with Double the Donation’s 360MatchPro.
Donor engagement is a critical component of a successful nonprofit fundraising initiative. And at the end of the year, giving is typically at an all-time high, spurred on by increasing levels of generosity throughout the holiday season. That means strategically engaging with your supporters is a must.
If your organization is looking for impactful ways to connect with your supporter base as the year comes to a close, this guide has the answers you need.
Read on to explore five tried-and-true engagement practices that will have your donors giving in droves.
1. Set a lofty yet realistic fundraising goal.
Fundraising goals are essential to your campaign strategy. As a time-bound campaign, your end-of-year fundraising has a clear deadline to meet. Establishing a set goal for your end-of-year fundraising efforts allows you to elicit a sense of urgency, track your progress in a tangible way, and ultimately determine your level of success.
Following the SMART goal framework (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) can be an excellent way to motivate your fundraising team and nonprofit supporters alike. Here’s an example:
“To increase total funds raised during our end-of-year fundraising campaign by 20% compared to the previous year, achieving $100,000 in donations by January 1st through expanded donor outreach and engagement in order to support an additional 50 underprivileged children in our education program.”
You can also communicate your goal using a visual aid, such as the fundraising thermometer pictured below.
This type of tool can be included in your fundraising appeals, donation forms, campaign landing pages, social media updates, and more. Donors can better understand your progression, be increasingly motivated to support your efforts, and often even see the tangible impact of their giving in real-time.
2. Mention matching gifts in year-end appeals.
Corporate matching gifts have the potential to enhance just about any nonprofit’s fundraising success. For one thing, you can picture these programs as a “Buy One, Get One Free” sale on charitable giving. When a qualifying donor gives and requests a match from their employer, you essentially receive two donations for the cost of soliciting one.
Not to mention, donors are more likely to give when they know a match is available — and they will give in larger amounts. According to our statistics, Double the Donation reports that 84% of donors are more likely to give (and 1 in 3 would contribute more than they would have otherwise) if a match option is offered. Still, the majority of match-eligible donors remain unaware of these programs and the giving opportunities they present!
So, if you’re looking to increase campaign response rates, boost your average gift size, and receive a bonus donation after the fact, you’ll want to incorporate matching gifts in your year-end fundraising efforts.
Highlight matching gifts in your campaign appeals. Plus, you can integrate matching gifts directly within the giving process by providing match information on your donation pages and confirmation screens, too!
3. Empower supporters to fundraise on your behalf.
Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are one of the best ways to expand your organization’s reach, engage with new audiences, and strengthen your relationship with key supporters. And it involves sanctioning existing donors to fundraise on your behalf by soliciting donations from their friends, families, and others in their networks.
Even better: the end-of-year giving season is a particularly popular time to host these types of initiatives.
For the best results, be sure to provide your volunteer fundraisers with the tools and resources they need for success. This typically includes a peer giving platform on which they can create personal fundraising pages, sample messaging templates and social media graphics, and anything else your supporters may find useful.
Consider offering a prize for the top fundraisers at the end of your campaign to leverage an additional element of gamification, too!
4. Pursue previously unclaimed but still eligible matches.
In addition to promoting matching gift opportunities for recently made year-end donations, the giving season is also an excellent time to follow up on unclaimed matches from throughout the year.
After all, one of the primary obstacles facing matching gift fundraising success is a lack of submission follow-through on the donor’s end. If you have a number of outstanding matches that donors have not confirmed submission (and you likely do), send out another batch of reminders!
As you do so, you’ll want to establish a sense of urgency in your follow-up messaging. Many companies align their match request deadlines with the end of the calendar year. While a gift made in January of this year likely still qualifies for a match in December, that may not be the case a few weeks down the line. Thus, it’s a good idea to encourage immediate action before the time runs out.
5. Send personalized thank-you messages.
You can expect an influx of giving at the end of the year, and it’s essential that you have a strategy in place to communicate your appreciation of those supporting your mission. Personalization in these communications can make a big difference, too.
Consider these year-end donor recognition best practices:
- Send automated email acknowledgments (and tax receipts) within 24 hours of receiving a gift.
- Go a step further for major or other high-value donors. Mail a handwritten note or make a phone call!
- Thank donors for their matching gift participation, too. We recommend doing so when they submit their request and when you receive the match.
- Enlist public acknowledgment strategies, such as donor walls, newsletter spotlights, social media shoutouts, and more.
Remember: genuine appreciation can go a long way in strengthening donor relationships. Doing so within your end-of-year giving campaigns allows you to launch your stewardship efforts and increase retention over time.
A robust end-of-year fundraising plan allows your organization to maximize its support with the resources, donor base, and momentum you need to close the giving season strong — and enter the new year even stronger. By implementing the above tips and practices, you can continue growing relationships with donors and set your team up to make the greatest impact on your mission.