Did you know that almost 20 percent of all annual online donations are made in December? And that donors tend to give 80 percent larger gifts during that time? That’s the figure stated in the 2013 Charitable Giving Report, and it’s vitally important for non-profit organizations to focus considerable energy on their fundraising efforts during the holiday season in order to maximize their returns.
Here are some marketing ideas for how best to reach out to your supporters during the holiday giving season.
Update your homepage
During the holiday season, it’s a good idea to refresh the homepage of your website to focus readers’ awareness on your end-of-year fundraising efforts. Place your campaign’s call to action (CTA) front and center on the homepage so people will see it right away. Specially themed greetings and banners are fine, but those should be framing the most important “ask” – urging readers to make a donation to your seasonal campaign. Don’t let anything distract supporters’ attention from your holiday CTA.
Schedule out your campaign in advance
Sit down with your team at least a month (or more!) before you start your holiday campaign, and map out how you’re going to reach out – emails, seasonally-themed blog posts, social media–and how you’ll pace the frequency of your messaging. This way you’ll have a steady handle on what you’re sending out and when. This advance planning will help make sure your marketing content lines up across the different platforms. Careful organization done in advance will give you free time when the inevitable time crunch hits. One solution is to plan backwards from the finish date of your end-of-year fundraising campaign; this will give you a better sense of when you should get started. A helpful tip: it’s never too early.
Put the “fun” in holiday fundraising with catchy subject lines and spirited graphics. Be sure to express gratitude to supporters for all their efforts this past year and remind them of your mission and how their contributions are helping. Whenever possible, add a personal touch to emails and other messaging. Devise unique CTAs that drive readers to your donation page and illustrate the significant impact donor contributions have made.
Actively engage with your supporters: respond to their questions and comments and offer personal thanks when someone makes a contribution. Update Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media pages with new holiday content, images, videos and easy links to donate. Remind supporters to share your fundraising links, or at least give them a like to boost engagement.
Create a specially designed and branded donation page for your holiday fundraising campaign. Include the images and text you used in emails for a consistent and seamless transition and other content that directly relates to your non-profit and its mission. Pay careful attention to ensure that your “checkout” is quick and streamlined and that the page is optimized. Make the donation button prominent and easy to find. Check and recheck that there are no bugs, delays, extra fields or anything else that might hold up the process once someone hits the donation button.
While working on your holiday campaign, don’t neglect your regularly scheduled communications. Your supporters are used to hearing from you, so keep them filled in with updates about your organization’s news, events and accomplishments. Use your newsletters and other outreach tools as an opportunity to incorporate your seasonal message, and always include a link to your donation page.
Embrace the holiday spirit
You’ve worked hard all year to further your organization’s purpose. While you and your team will certainly put additional effort into the holiday fundraising campaign, remember to keep some of that holiday spirit for yourself. Have some fun with your emails and social media–look for festive graphics and images that people will enjoy looking at when receiving messages from you.
Start looking ahead
Even while in the midst of working hard on your holiday campaign, you should start coming up with ideas on how to re-engage supporters and reach out to potential new donors at the start of the new year. Thank contributors right away for their donations, and fill them in on your non-profit’s plans and hopes for the year ahead.
Holiday campaigns are essential elements of non-profit fundraising. It’s never too early to start thinking about your end-of-year digital marketing approach, and including these ideas will help your organization with its strategy. Whatever time of year it is, the holidays are just around the corner!