[Expert Opinions] Year end fundraising tips 2020

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[Expert Opinions] Year end fundraising tips 2020

It is that time of the year again when nonprofit professionals are rounding up their yearly fundraising campaigns and getting busy with all kinds of analysis for the year that is coming.  Well that is the way it is supposed to be and nothing can be more pleasing than the fact that the nonprofit is adjusting to the new normal quite quickly. Fundraising for nonprofits has gotten a boost out of the maximization on online platforms and processes. Online communication and transactions are getting more popular by the day and nonprofits have been adapting to the same in an excellent manner. 

GiveCentral has gathered the opinions of several nonprofit influencers on year end fundraising. The key largely is to remain productive with a clear goal in sight. 

Joe Water
Speaker, writer & podcaster, Selfishgiving.com

Exude relevance

“The nonprofits that will be most successful at the end of the year will be those that demonstrate value, empathy and relevancy. Let me share a related example. For many years poultry producer Butterball has hosted a famous Turkey Talk-Line. Experts at Butterball man the phones and answer people’s questions on how to cook their turkeys. Genius, right? Well, for this Thanksgiving, Butterball is preparing for a slightly different type of holiday. Because of Covid and more people staying home as opposed to visiting friends and relatives, the company is expecting more calls from first-time cooks, and more questions on cooking smaller birds. Butterball is adjusting for a different year and so should your nonprofit. Show supporters how you’ve adjusted or expanded your work to meet the needs of your audience during the pandemic. Empathize with your supporters and what they may be going through. Finally, find a way to be helpful, if you can. As I like to say, don’t just be good, be good for something!”

Amy Eisenstein
CEO & Co-founder, Capital Campaign Toolkit

Take advantage of technology

“At the Capital Campaign Toolkit, we are seeing more and more organizations successfully leverage technology when it comes to fundraising. The challenge is to take advantage of what technology has to offer, while still being personal and individualized. This year the focus has been on “meeting” with, and soliciting donors, virtually. The exciting news is that donors are giving generous 4, 5, and 6 figure gifts, which normally, would have been solicited in-person. At the Capital Campaign Toolkit, we encourage organizations to meet with donors and campaign committees virtually, not because of Covid, but because it’s effective and affordable. “

Patrick Coleman
CEO, GiveCentral

Perfect time to re-evaluate and celebrate

“Think of the year-end as a time to look back on the milestones you have achieved this year and re-evaluate your strategies to see which ones worked better than the rest and why. As you identify your achievements, communicate the same to your donors. Regardless of the hard times we’re in, there is always a reason to be grateful for. Celebrate the little successes with your donors simply by letting them know of the same and how their support has helped your nonprofit to stand where it does today. It is also important to share your challenges.  Our communities are aksing for greater transparency which can help build greater trust. Fundraising for nonprofits also largely includes facing challenges.  Re-visiting both our successes and challenges honestly can help us plan thoughtfully for the coming year and create even greater opportunities for future success.”

Farra Trompeter
Chief Growth Officer, Big Duck

Re-examine your approach to storytelling.

“For many years, fundraising consultants (myself included) have recommended centering your donors in your content, citing an increase in response rate as we make the “donor the hero.” I’ve since realized the harm that approach can take, particularly as it may perpetuate white supremacy or saviorism. You may be familiar with the push for international humanitarian organizations to move away from featuring exploitative images and stories in fundraising appeals. Regardless of where your organization works or what your mission may be, are you reinforcing some of these harmful storytelling practices in your appeals? We’ve seen many local, regional, and national nonprofits across the U.S. commit these behaviors and invite you to examine your own materials and recognize patterns to change.”

Jenni Hargrove
Founder, Nonprofit Jenni

Believe in your donors

“Many nonprofit leaders are unsure how to frame their year-end fundraising appeals in light of everything that’s happened this year. Between COVID-19, a heated election season and increased news coverage of violent racism, you may not know how to ask for donations now – especially if your nonprofit doesn’t provide direct relief for these big issues in the news. Let me encourage you to continue boldly sharing your mission and inviting donors to support you. When a tragedy occurs (such as a health pandemic or a natural disaster), donors absolutely feel like they need to support those impacted. But the tragedy doesn’t cause your donors to stop caring about your mission as well. Donors who supported the arts, rescue animals, and renewable energy in 2019 are just as passionate about those causes now. Your donors need to know that you continue to serve the mission they love, and that you still need their contributions to keep moving forward.”

Alesha Mathis
Independent Contractor, Mathis Nonprofit Services

No shame in asking

“The real key is to ask. Direct mail and email are the most cost-effective ways to ask for donations. During 2020, it became more evident that direct mail, email, and building your donor base was a high priority. Your year-end campaign should include at least one appeal letter (direct mail and email to reduce expenses). If your resources allow, I would also have a follow-up letter about two weeks later to anyone who was on your list and hadn’t given. I’ve written follow-up letters that almost doubled the initial mailing so it’s worth the effort. Don’t forget your online donation link in your direct appeals! Combine appeal letters with online fundraising including Facebook fundraisers for an extra impact and an affordable solution.”

Heather Nelson
President, BridgeRaise

Stay connected

“There is never a better time to be in touch than at year end. I’ve heard from many charities and nonprofits that felt uncertain throughout the year asking companies for support. With December around the corner now is the perfect time to rectify that. I encourage a year-end ask for support. Give your corporate partners the opportunity to feel a part of something positive as they wrap up 2020. However, if you are reluctant to ask for support, at the very least use year end to update your corporate partners and prospects. Connect with them. You’ll be happy you did when 2021 rolls around and your relationship is stronger.”+++

2020 has taken the world on one crazy ride and nonprofits are gearing up to end the year on a note that brings more hope and accomplishment. We hope that this article will help you outline your strategies for the year end, all the very best!

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