CCAH Blog: Industry Voices

Christmas in August – 5 Easy Steps to a December You’ll Remember

Posted by Admin CCAH on Aug 18, 2014 6:10:00 PM

Chrissy HyreBy Chrissy Hyre, Senior Strategist | We all know how important yearend is to hitting our fundraising goals. We start months in advance (like, now) to lay out our smartest, most strategic best. And it's important, because it funds our critical work the rest of the year.

The question is the same every time we start hammering out the strategy. How can we take it up a notch from previous successes, and maximize the most wonderful time of the year?

I recently had the pleasure of speaking on a panel at the DMANF in NYC with some amazing leaders in the field of fundraising and engagement. Our charge: share fail-proof ideas and tips for a successful year end fundraising season.

Here are a few highlights from folks who have been there, done that – and exceeded all fundraising expectations.

  • If it's not tested, don't try it. All of our panelists underscored this bit of wisdom. Yearend isn't the time to roll out with something gimmicky or unfamiliar to your donors. Instead, make sure your tried and true revenue drivers are fully optimized.
  • Plan for success. David Onate is the Senior Online Communications and Marketing Manager at African Wildlife Foundation. He pointed out that many organizations make 50% of their online revenue during year end – and more than 50% of emails are read on mobile. Make sure you're ready to take advantage by ensuring every aspect of your program is fully optimized. Look at how you’re driving web traffic, evaluate your donation forms, performance any maintenance to ensure list hygiene, maximize mobile optimization. In other words – do the legwork now, and reap the benefits in December.
  • If the answer is maybe, it's no. Peter Genuardi, Founder and CEO of Strength in Members, shared this gem. When evaluating your strategy and creative – across all channels – ask if it would motivate you to give. If your answer is lukewarm, head back to the drawing board.
  • Love your sustainers. You're already sold on recruiting as many sustainers as possible during the year. Heino Neilsson, the Greenpeace global telemarketing manager, pointed out that yearend is the perfect time to encourage donors to take that monthly commitment to the next level. Not only does a holiday sustainer upgrade tie in with the warm fuzzy giving spirit our donors feel this time of year, you get a whole year of benefit from their upgrade gift!
  • Integrate like it's your J-O-B. Because it is – and there is no such thing as too much integration. Plan for full channel, surround sound engagement for your yearend program. And don’t stop at your solicitation approach. Evaluate the backend performance as a fully integrated donor experience as well.

And one last tip from me to you: if you get a chance to see any of these guys speak, run, don't walk. It was such an honor to get to hear their ideas and learn from them.

How about you? You know you're already planning – how are you going to make 2014 your best yearend yet?

Topics: DMA, fundraising, Direct Marketing Association, year end, mobile, sustainers, multichannel, DMA Nonprofit Federation, direct marketing, CCAH, Chapman Cubine Adams Hussey, marketing