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Launching an “Extra Mile” Campaign

Most nonprofits have wrapped up or are wrapping up their holiday appeal.  Most of these direct mail (or, more inclusively, “direct response”) campaigns are run in November – December, with follow-up in January – February.  Increasingly, nonprofits recruit board members to conduct a personal solicitation component of the holiday appeal to high-level and “special handling” donors.  This usually adds significantly to the dollars raised.  A recent client conducted an e-mail component and raised revenue 20% over the previous year.

Now is a good time to consider an Extra Contribution or “Extra Mile” campaign.  Nonprofits identify donors who did gave, perhaps early in the annual appeal (November) and ask that these donors consider going the “extra mile” and adding to their gift.  Nonprofit staff and volunteer leadership need to feel comfortable taking this step.  It’s possible that some donors will be turned off by this approach.  In my experience, there is a significant number of donors who will consider doing more for your mission if you make a good case.

Your case for an Extra Contribution should be 100% focused on those who rely on the service you provide.

And of course, you have already thanked your donors at least once for their recent annual appeal gift.  It’s a good idea to start the appeal letter with another “thank you.”  To clearly acknowledge that your nonprofit and your clients (I refer to them as primary customers) appreciate what your donors have done.  But there are unmet needs.  And you will note one or two of these: the number of people who need to be reached but aren’t because there isn’t quite enough in the cupboard to get the job done.

Give it some thought.  Talk it over.  Let your development committee know what you’re considering and ask for their feedback.

The potential is there to add another 10% to annual appeal revenue.  Food for thought.

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