By David A. Mersky
The year is nearly over. At this point, you have done absolutely everything you can for your direct response and mid-range donors.
So, what do most organizations do? They send everybody home between Christmas and New Year’s.
Yes, you may still be calling some of your most important supporters. But everything else that will enable you to finish 2022 successfully is fully baked.
Or is it? Remember that 50% (not a typo) of all online giving happens in the last week of the year; 21% occurs on the very last day.
Now is the time to be especially vigilant — making sure that online forms are functioning, checks are deposited, records are updated, and acknowledgments are sent with a personal note that tells the donor how valued they are.
The mail and email may be scheduled (at least three emails should be sent on the last two days of the year), but this is the time to be sure the mail is opened, online gifts are processed, deposits are made, the CRM is updated, and acknowledgements are processed for those who make their gifts as the final page of the calendar turns.
A Time for Planning
The close of the year is also the time to start planning for the next. What will you track?:
- Who gave in 2022 who had not given in 2021? Did an action you took trigger the gifts (e.g., a match, an impact report)?
- How can we increase the number of people who have supported us in the past, skipped a year, and then came back?
- Who increased their gift in 2022 from what they had given previously? How can we get them to do it again and encourage more to join them?
- Who did not give in 2022 but had given in 2021? How do we revive their affection and dedication to the work that we do?
- Who gave for the very first time in 2022? How do we ensure that we retain their support and get them to give again?
In fundraising, as in marketing, the ultimate objective is to create segments of more and more homogeneous groups. Doing so allows you to develop what will feel like deeply customized approaches that connect with your donors and that encourage them to invest in your community generously and continually.
Resume your analysis with a review of the tactics used this year and the results realized:
- Who responded to your snail mail solicitations?
- Who was invited to join your sustainers society and became a monthly donor?
- Who was asked to consider a legacy and informed you that they had made provisions for your organization in their estate plan?
- Who came to a special event — a small wine and cheese in a home, a major gala in a hotel ballroom, etc. — and how did they behave philanthropically differently than they had previously?
These are just a few examples of questions that you should prepare to ask after all the results for the year are received. Overall, your objective is to understand which tactics had the highest return on investment with which segments, in order to do more of what worked in 2023.
As you sit in your office these next two weeks considering all that you and your hardworking staff have accomplished in 2022, keep in mind that it ain’t over ‘till it’s over and next year is just around the corner.