Ready for year-end fundraising? Start here…

September 20, 2018

Are you ready to totally ROCK your year-end fundraising campaign?

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks over at Basics & More™ in our third annual Your Best Year-End Fundraising: The System program. So far, we’ve walked through the dos and don’ts of data segmentation, learned how to create your best story and theme, explored how you can cut through the clutter in your online fundraising, creating customized gift strings, and how to write a fundraising appeal that speaks to your donors’ hearts.

But nothing could quite prepare me for yesterday’s training featured international fundraising superstar, Denisa Casement, CFRE.

A little background on Denisa…

Together with the dynamite team of Lisa Sargent and Sandi Collette, Denisa took a small Irish charity from an annual revenue of €250,000 to €3 million in roughly six years. Not to mention improving their donor retention rate from 57 per cent to and almost unheard of 69 per cent. If you haven’t already, you need to download the case study at SOFII.

This is what making a genuine commitment to donor care looks like!

Denisa noted that there are hundreds of improvements and tweaks you can make to get better campaign results.

But these top ten will yield 80% on the improvement in results:

  1. Coordinated multi-channel campaign
  2. Donor-centered, emotional creative
  3. Pre-season thank you calls
  4. Ask for the right amount
  5. Segment your data
  6. Spend more on your high and mid-level donors
  7. Strong personalization
  8. Include a *lift* piece
  9. A small, non-financial engagement piece
  10. Add a matching gift

It was a two-hour training brimming with amazing ideas, particularly for small shops.

But where do you get started?

What can you do in the months of September and October that will skyrocket your year-end fundraising?

Start in October by bringing your board members together for pre-season thank you calls.

A study by the UK firm Pell & Bales found that thank you calls reduced donor attrition by a third. And, in his book, Retention Fundraising: The New Art and Science of Keeping Your Donors for Life, Roger Craver notes, “Overall, donors who have been phoned for one reason or another (it doesn’t seem to matter) show retention rates 15 percent higher than those who haven’t been contacted.”

Denisa suggested starting with a plan for your board members and executive staff. They’ll be calling your organization’s top donors. Then, if you’ve got the bandwidth, you’ll want staff and volunteers to call your midlevel donors.

Make it fun! Once your board members get over their skepticism and dip a toe in the water, they’ll enjoy the chance to chat with donors. Make it non-threatening and supply them with a script (here’s a great one from the Osborne Group), and a bit of coaching.

Seats are still open for Your Best Year-End Fundraising: The System, the only step-by-step program for year-end success. Click here to learn more and enroll.

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