Top mistakes nonprofits make with annual appeals

Top mistakes nonprofits make with annual appeals

In good times and bad, we know that people give because you meet needs, not because you have needs. – Kay Sprinkel Grace

People donate to you because they believe in your work. And annual appeals are a way of showing your donors how you have transcended their funds into programs for good deeds, and why you need their continued support. 

But easier said than done! The end of the year is a busy time for a lot of busy nonprofits trying to meet their yearly goals. To reach the right donor and soliciting their contribution means creating compelling appeals to stand apart from the competition. 

It is not as simple as sending messages to everyone in your donor list anymore, nor is it a one-off contact with your donors. In order to meet ends, you need to approach annual appeals and capital campaigns as a campaign. There is a lot a catholic nonprofit fundraising can learn from big budget organizations. 

Plan ahead. Use the multiple channels of communication available to reach your donors where they are. 

It is not as daunting as it sounds. Really! In this blog we will walk you through some common mistakes nonprofits make when creating a fundraising campaign.

We also shared our ebook on how to create an effective online marketing strategy for your fundraising campaign. Follow the link to learn more. 

But a campaign of such large scale, if created hastily, could lead to your donors losing interest in your organisation. 

Here are a few could-prove-to-be costly appeal mistakes your nonprofit needs to look upon:

1.Mailing the wrong people

One of the defining aspects of a successful campaign is finding the right list of people to reach out. If you have been mailing people who have long stopped responding, it will avail you nothing. Many nonprofits mail to their contact list in entirety. But it is necessary to understand that not all people in the donor list are appropriate for the same appeal.

Moreover, prospects or event participants would need a detailed overview of your work before they make any donation. They could have a more superficial relationship with your group and would need more convincing unlike your core supporters.

What could be done?

Take time and segregate your emailing list. Today, it is advisable to use a donor management software that could help you manage donors as well as supports online donations tools. Craft a relevant message for the respective list which will definitely increase the number of responses.

2. Uninviting design

It could be that your old design has become monotonous and isn’t encouraging enough for your donors. When you send an email, it must be appealing enough for people to click through your CTA (call-to-action). In this case especially, when donors must choose which organisation to donate to, an interaction that catches their eyes is the driving force that will lead them to choose you.

What could be done?

While you should make sure to avoid sending the same emails with a boring letterhead, you could choose from numerous template designs for an emailer. Use a good emailing software that offers customizability. If not doing it yourself, get your emails designed by professionals who could really bring in that ‘missing element’ and increase your responses.

3. Non-reviewal of expenses and budgets

Isn’t it necessary to spend your organisation’s money and resources at the right place?
It is integral for a successful campaign to assess the past performances and correctly align what doesn’t seem right. Not reviewing your organisation’s previous efforts to fundraise could lead to committing the same shortcomings again and wasting on unnecessary expenses. 

What could be done?

Create a budget around every such campaign. Meet with the working committee of your organisation and brainstorm over what steps to take and where to put your money when it comes to promotions and gifts. Cost cutting and spending money proactively requires a projecting budget for every step of the campaign thus, work accordingly.

It is important to understand that donor retention is easier than acquisition. Yet, even the best fundraisers end up committing such mistakes. If you have made any of these mistakes in the past, you have plenty of time right now to correct them before your next appeal. We at GiveCentral, help nonprofits with easy fundraising ideas and provide them with a donor management software. We help them design fundraising campaigns with a set of new age tools to accept donations. Want to learn more about our products and services? Contact us here.

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