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Season Of Giving Campaign


Season of Giving Campaign
Year-end is upon us, and it’s not too late for one final appeal in 2016! Organizations, large and small, should capitalize on the Season of Giving. A year-end appeal is powerful and creates exposure for your organization by educating others on your past, current and future efforts. Publicity is vital; however, solicitations can heighten awareness of your mission, build relationships and increase revenue. During the giving season, individuals are more likely to give generously and represent the majority of donations. In 2015, charitable giving continued its upward trend: An estimated $373 billion was donated, with individuals representing 71 percent of the total. Taking advantage of the Season of Giving is essential to your organization, so let’s get started on your end-of-year campaign.

The Appeal
An end-of-year appeal can be developed many ways, but highlighting an individual situation or story will have the most impact by enhancing your donors’ understanding and increasing their connection to your cause. Once you have developed your message and crafted a story, ensure the solicitation is delivered in a simple, informative, connective and up-lifting way. Read on for tips on how to enhance the impact of your appeal.
  • Delivery – Your message should be vibrant and concise. Make sure to use simple verbiage and keep statistics to a minimum. Statistics are great motivators but can also change the voice of an appeal. Readers need to understand your message to be able to connect to it. A confused donor will disregard an appeal, resulting in no gift.
  • Mission – The voice of your appeal must prominently support your mission throughout the entire piece. Your organization’s mission and objectives should be obvious to the reader. If the design allows, directly state your mission on the appeal.
  • Personalization – Personalization is key to making your donors feel important and connected to your cause. Simple additions such as the donor’s name, last donation date and the amount of their last gift can have lasting impact. Personalization is a must for all major gift solicitations. 
  • Imagery – People naturally look at pictures before reading text. Capitalize on this by using images to tell your story and enhance the donors’ emotions. Utilize photos that invoke feelings of empathy and joy to help your donors develop drive and energy to support your cause. Comparative pictures (before and after) work well to achieve this.
  • Donor Impact – Donors like to feel connected and valuable to causes they believe in. Focusing on donor impact creates ownership and connection, ultimately increasing giving. Explain how donor support is critical to your mission and highlight donor impact in your story.
  • Donation Amounts – Engage your donors by showing and telling them how you are utilizing their money. Add increments to the end of your appeal because dollar amounts, connected to a tangible impact, guide the donors’ understanding of what they can influence. Keep amounts and explanations simple, and use examples.
Appeals are endorsed by many people in many ways. Leadership and development are the mainstay of appeals, but other staff, board members and volunteers need to work collectively to drive the effort. In addition to face-to-face connections, appeals can be sent via email, promoted on social media, introduced by phone and mailed directly to donors.
Convenience is vital; make it easy for your donors to give. Your website should reflect your current campaign(s), and your donation button or page must be highly visible. Include options, such as recurring gift, so donors have the choice to give again automatically. Direct mail appeals should include a return envelope. It’s no secret that social media is incredibly effective: Don’t forget to include a link that leads directly to your donation page. Donors have little patience, and if it’s difficult to donate, your organization will miss out on funds.

The Acknowledgement
Recognize gifts within three days of receiving since a delayed response can be perceived as an insult. Some donors prefer to remain anonymous, while other donors might want the publicity to go toward their company, but one thing is constant: All donor requests should be respected. Acknowledgement levels mostly fall into three categories: major gift, mid-level gift and lower-level gift. The dollar amount for each category is customized to your organization’s donor base.
Major Gifts Phone call and thank you letter
Mid-level Gift Personalized email and thank you letter
Lower-level Gift Thank you letter with hand written note
Stewardship is the key to successful donor retention. It’s easier to keep a donor than to acquire a new one. To sustain your donors, make sure to follow-up on how their funds were used and remain in communication. When a donor can physically see a difference, they are more likely to give a second time, third time, and eventually become a recurring donor.

Looking for a little help to make sure you’re getting the most out of Altru with your end of year campaign? Our Altru experts can help you develop an end-of-year appeal to heighten awareness of your mission, build relationships and increase revenue. Learn more at

Year-end appeals are worth every bit of the effort. Good luck during the 2016 Season of Giving!
Posted by Tanya Fitzgerald on Nov 28, 2016 9:30 AM America/New_York

Leave a Comment

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With the postal service slowing, I can understand the three-day turnaround for an acknowledgement letter, but I'll always want to strive for that '48-hour turnaround'.

Thanks for the light morning read! :)
  • Posted Mon 28 Nov 2016 10:02 AM EST
It drives me crazy getting an appeal email with a bunch of text and no pictures. It seems like an arbitrary thing, but it goes a long way toward helping people understand your mission.
  • Posted Tue 06 Dec 2016 10:31 AM EST
Our process for follow-up thank yous:

We definitely follow the 48 turnaround and everyone gets a hand written note on their letter. More recently we have a group who will call and simply thank donors. It's broken down and given to certain people on actions by:

Annual Giver (2014, 2015, 2016) Gift Manager
1st time Giver (any amount) Gift Manager
$100-$500 Assistant
$500-$1000 Director
$1000+ CEO

Also board members will write small note for anyone over $100 but only monthly and left overs get written by myself and signed by CEO
  • Posted Wed 07 Dec 2016 03:20 PM EST
These are great tips. This year we are going to try to get board members more involved with the acknowledgment process.
  • Posted Thu 08 Dec 2016 01:25 PM EST
I'm feeling guilty about all the extra mail I'm getting this time of year: so many trees sacrificed! I'm glad the trend is moving toward email appeals.
  • Posted Thu 08 Dec 2016 05:13 PM EST