November is here – which means it’s officially crunch time for your year-end campaign. Keep reading for this month’s tips to keep your fundraising in line and on time!
1. Finalize your direct mail and send it (and your data) to the print/mail house.
In October, you designed and finalized your direct mail appeal (and, hopefully, the rest of your fundraising pieces). Now it’s time to get your appeal to your print/mail house so it can get out the door!
In our experience, year-end direct mail appeals perform best when they hit donor mailboxes just after Thanksgiving. If you haven’t already, find out your printer’s deadline for receiving creative – and make sure to build in enough time for yourself to review and approve proofs, correct any mistakes and sign off on the process for printing and delivery.
Now’s also the time to get your donor data to the printer for the mail merge. If your appeal includes any variable data (like suggested giving amounts), you might want to walk through your piece with your printing contact to make sure they’re on the same page as you, and that nothing will slow down the delivery once you’re ready to send.
2. Start testing social ads.
The beauty of social media ads like Facebook is that you’re able to try different things to different audience groups in short amounts of time. Early in November (or even before, if possible), start testing variations of creative, messaging, calls to action and more with various audiences (like donors, non-donors, website visitors, etc.) to see what resonates with which groups.
To test, run ad sets to each audience segment for about three days at a time, then analyze the results. Based on results, make small tweaks and deploy ads again. The early part of this month is also a good time to work on educating new audiences who share characteristics similar to your donors (called lookalike audiences) by getting them to visit your website and learn more about your cause.
Ideally, you’ll want your best ads (that is, the types of ads that proved to work the best) running by the week or so before your direct mail drops. Continue running ads throughout the month of December, with urgency to donate increasing as the month goes on.
3. Build and prep email solicitations.
Once your time-sensitive direct mail appeal is finalized, shift your focus to e-solicitations. Use variations of your direct mail story for consistency, then work on writing, designing and building out your emails in your organization’s email client. If you’re going to segment your emails by audience, build out each individual email and determine the content you want to vary – like subject lines and calls to action.
We suggest sending around three emails in the month of December, each with an increased sense of urgency to donate. Time the first email a few days after your direct mail drops, then space the others out accordingly.
4. Plan individual outreach.
Though direct mail, email and social media are a good start for a year-end campaign, it leaves out one essential component: individual communication. In November, skim through your donor database to identify the donors you want to reach out to individually by phone and/or email. If you have a team available, split up the list by personnel and work as a group to create phone scripts and email content. Then, set a schedule for when you’ll be contacting individuals (like major and mid-level donors, foundations and corporations) to thank them for past gifts and prime them for this year’s giving season.
December is approaching quickly, so don’t delay. Keep up with your fundraising plan now through the end of the year for your best chance at success!
Want more tips to boost your fundraising efforts? Download our year-end planning guide here.