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Annual Appeal: Practices that Work

Every fall I post a blog featuring steps a Nonprofit can take to spruce up or revitalize the Annual Appeal.

Here are a few new 2013 twists on Annual Appeal practice I’ve discussed in the past:

  • Follow up. Now is the time to plan ahead. Four-to-six weeks after your initial Appeal, send a follow-up to selected segments of your list who didn’t respond first time around. Take a theme from the initial Appeal, and do a short update on it.
  • Second Appeal. Six months after your initial Appeal, go back to your donors with a new mission-related message, or a new story to tell that will get your supporters’ attention and motivate them to give again.
  • Stewardship. Put a “thank you” plan and system in place now that acknowledges gifts soon after they are received. Personalize the “thank you” to different degrees depending on amount of gift and the duration of relationship with the particular donor.
  • Communicate. Have a communication plan and system in place that keeps your donors informed on what’s happening at your Nonprofit that will be of interest. Consider a special, exclusive executive newsletter to donors with notes and observations from the CEO that give a insider perspective to what’s happening.
  • Always the Mission. All communication always features the Nonprofit mission.
  • In my estimation, these steps should produce a 10% or greater bump from your Annual Appeal. Track it. See what some revision of your practice can do for your Annual Appeal revenue.

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