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Hook - The Consumer Engagement Blog

From the monthly archives: October 2013

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'October 2013'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

Paula Martin's avatar


The ever important End of the Year is near – the time when non-profits can garner up to 50% of their donations for the year.  How ready are you?

To help you overcome your fears about year’s end, Advocace has compiled a quick check list of information to make 2013 end profitably.  Capture those December dollars to ease the chilling thoughts of a new year!

#1 – Check your data files: nothing irks a donor more than receiving a mailing with the dreaded misspelled name. Make sure you are using the preferred name (is it Rick or Richard) and check for typos. Making sure you have the donor information right shows you care about them. A few hours scanning the donor records for typos and missing salutations gives you an advantage over other groups that don’t.

#2 – Figure out letter segmentation: letters need to fit the recipient. Loyal donors should receive a letter that reflects their enthusiasm for your mission, whereas, prospective donors should receive a version that explains and convinces them you are worthy of their support. You wouldn’t use a silver bullet to ward off a vampire, nor a wooden stake on a werewolf!

#3 – Talk about the results: according to the 2013 CYGNUS study of over 100,000 donors, their major moan is that charities don’t report enough on what donations actually accomplished. Give a brief bulleted list of significant accomplishments related to the donor’s giving.

#4 – Use your best stories: giving is an emotional heart-beating decision. You must connect with them emotionally - sharing the work God is doing through your ministry. Successful end of year letters share great stories that stir readers’ hearts - and ultimately their pocketbooks.

#5 – Choose your packaging wisely: your donors mailbox will be filled with solicitations. What can you do to stand apart? You may want to deviate from your normal “look” by using color, hand addressing envelopes or adding a hand-written note. If you only have a skeletal staff, use hand writing only for your major donors. Also consider adding small gifts like bookmarks and magnets.

#6 – Allow enough time: not only are mail houses swamped in October and November, the postal service is also busy between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Contact your printer to reserve a slot in their production schedule. Know your deadline! Add an extra 3-5 days for the postal service to deliver your non-profit mail – or spend the extra money on a first-class stamp. Using stamps speeds delivery and makes your mailing stand out!

#7 – Think in terms of a Campaign – not just a year end mailing: Your End of the Year letter is only the beginning, not the end! Plan out a series of emails, web articles, social media posts and even phone calls to complete your year-end campaign. You might set a specific monetary goal to be reached by December 31st, 2013 to help you end the year successfully and start 2014 strong. Motivate your donors by sharing how reaching your goal impacts your mission in real human terms (zombie terms are not real motivating).

Donors are just like you and me – they get busier as the year winds down, and, they enjoy being charitable! If your end of year communications are persuasively written, emotionally engaging and highly personalized - they will cut through the holiday fog and mysteriously motivate your donors to rally around your cause with increased giving.

Special thanks to Advocace Consultant Jerry Grimes for the information contained in this check list. Contact Advocace if you are shaking in your boots regarding any area of donor development for your organization.

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