Annual appeal season is here for nonprofits. This can be a very busy and stressful time of the year. Here are a few quick tips we have put together to help ease some of that stress.
- Plan your calendar
Timing is going to be a key feature of your annual appeal mailing. Start planning early so that you are not in a rush at the end of the year to get your letters out. Also if you plan on doing a multi piece mailing timing is a crucial element. Send the letters out too close together and you risk annoying your potential donors. But send them out too far apart and you may be forgotten amongst the other appeals they are receiving. Research your target market to find some of the best timing practices for your mailing.
- Set a goal
Have a clearly defined goal for your annual appeal. Not all mailing pieces need to have the goal of raising money directly. The first pieces you send may need to be informative pieces with the intention of raising awareness. Or maybe your plan should be to drive them to follow your social media sites. These people can later be converted into donors. Whatever your plan is, a clear goal needs to be set so that you can design the most effective piece.
If you run your own nonprofit organization then you are well aware of how important budgeting is. The annual appeal is one of the most important fundraising opportunities for nonprofit organizations so decide on how much you plan to raise this time of year. Then set a firm budget. Make sure the vendors you work with respect your budget and stay within it.
- Specific audience
Target as specific an audience as you possibly can. Many times getting in front of the most people possible is not as effective as getting in front of a smaller group of interested people. Mailing lists for all types of demographics exist if you do not have one on your own. The strongest list is going to be a list of supporters that you have collected throughout the years. If you do not have your own list, then reach out to local printing/mailing companies. They will have access to mailing lists that can target people based on interests and other qualities.
Designing the final annual appeal piece is the biggest part of this project. But if you have followed the steps listed above it is much easier than you think. With a set goal, budget, and audience most design companies can come up with a very effective piece. Find a company that has experience with these pieces and make sure your appeal is as personal as possible for the best results.
- Track data
Finally, track your results. Although this may not seem like the most important step it is extremely helpful in the long run. If you can locate your most effective pieces, then the next year you can dedicate more resources in that area. This will lead to improving your annual appeal each year.
Hopefully these tips can make this annual appeal season go a little more smoothly and relieve some of the stress. Have a happy Holidays!