It’s mid-July and discussions around Angel Oak Creative are turning to end-of-year appeals. No, we’re not bored or just looking for things to talk about. We’ve learned from experience that successful nonprofits start planning their end-of-year appeals early. (Yes, this early.) Reason? Successful nonprofits know the ROI of a strategically planned, well-run end-of-year appeal. Therefore, they invest in it, and they invest in it early so they’re prepared. So let’s talk.
Have YOU started thinking about your end-of-year fundraising efforts? What are your goals? What’s your game plan for meeting your goals? Regardless of whether you’ve already started the conversation or whether this blog is your kickstart into scheduling that first planning meeting, we highly recommend investing in support for your end-of-year appeal. Not convinced? OK. We’ve pulled together five reasons why your organization doesn’t need to invest in support for your end-of-year appeal. If your organization can check “yes” for all five of these reasons then you’re good to go solo! If not, you need to schedule that meeting…
1. Everyone already knows all about your organization – If you’re confident that everyone knows everything they need to know about your nonprofit, you can rest easy knowing that you don’t need marketing support for your end-of-year appeal. On the other hand, if you have more than a handful of folks who would benefit from knowing more about your organization so that they might be moved to support it, then investing in marketing would be well-advised. Whether it’s via email, social media, word of mouth or smoke signals, utilizing marketing to clearly communicate your mission, vision and need is an important first step in engaging current and prospective donors and moving them to support your end-of-year fundraising efforts.
2. Your supporters are fully aware of your impact over the past year – If you’re like most nonprofits, you’re working hard each day to make an impact on the communities you serve. And if you’re certain your champions know all about that impact, you can save your time and money by not investing in marketing for your end-of-year appeal. However, if that’s not the case, using your end-of-year efforts as an opportunity to highlight the great work you and your team do to make your community better can go a long way toward demonstrating your case for support. Utilizing infographics, success stories, videos and testimonials are all effective ways to create content that informs, educates and engages.
3. Prospective donors understand exactly how their donations will be used – One of the biggest questions potential supporters ask is, “How are you going to use my donation?” If your prospects are already in the know about where their money goes, then you can safely cross marketing off your end-of-year planning checklist. But if you want to build your organization’s brand around transparency, trust and integrity, providing clarity around how you’re stewarding your donors’ investment is a great start. Creating easily understandable giving levels and a clear roadmap of where the money goes is critical in a successful end-of-year appeal.
4. Your organization has plenty of internal resources to manage marketing strategy, graphic design, video production, web development and social media – How many small to mid-sized nonprofits have a full-blown marketing department that can meet its every need for their end-of-year appeal efforts? Answer – NONE! A few organizations may be able to handle one or two of these tasks, but in order to produce a comprehensive, integrated and effective campaign, executing each of these with excellence is critical. That’s where partnering with a full-service marketing firm can return dividends. By offering all of the services under one roof, there are significant efficiencies and advantages to be gained when creating and executing an end-of-year campaign.
5. Your end-of-year fundraising efforts begin early, cause you no stress and run like a well-oiled machine – Is your nonprofit a unicorn? Does it have its end-of-year efforts honed to perfection? If you’re like most organizations, the answer is a resounding “NO!” Executing a successful end-of-year appeal involves a lot of moving parts. Investing in marketing support provides a higher degree of preparation, structure, quality and accountability for one of the most important undertakings of your yearly fundraising efforts. Most small to mid-sized nonprofits have – at most – one full-time development person tasked with managing all of the fundraising efforts. Investing in additional minds, hands and feet for your end-of-year appeal efforts helps ensure it will be creative, run smoothly and produce the desired results.
OK, so we’re being a little contrary here, but hopefully you get the point. There are some really great reasons to explore investing in marketing support for your end-of-year appeal. After all, almost 30% of nonprofits raise as much as 50% of their annual funds from year-end campaigns.
Let this year be the year you take your end-of-year appeal to the next level. At least start thinking about it…
– David Chatham, Senior Marketing Consultant