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Update on Annual Appeal Follow-Up

You are likely tracking response to your Annual Appeal, and have a good idea if this will be a good, fair, or ugly campaign by the results thus far.

Does it look like your 2013 results will exceed 2012? 2011? Hopefully, your results are in a database and you can track particular donors, their response each year, and maybe even trends by age, sex other demographics. This is good information to have…and of course you have a staff member or volunteer who loves to analyze numbers who will look for trends and bring that information to the team to discuss and figure what the trend is telling you. Don’t have such a geek on your team? There are lots of capable people around who will volunteer for you, or ably consult for you.

Database or no database, it’s time to prepare a follow-up with non-responders. Count on the fact that some of your donors may have overlooked you back in November and early December when they were swamped with appeals from every nonprofit in kingdom come. But please don’t be discouraged! Following up on your year-end appeal is one of the best things you can do to generate additional income.
As you prepare this appeal to donors you haven’t heard from, remember these tips:

  • Remind them about your mission, and what your nonprofit is doing right now to serve the mission
  • Thank them for their past support
  • In a short paragraph, tell your donors about a recipient, or a member, or a subscriber to put a face on the value of your service

In your follow up, please do not make your nonprofit the focus. Shine the spotlight on your clients, the people who benefit from your purpose in life. Generally speaking, donors don’t respond well to “help! we just had our worst deficit!!” nor to “we’ll have to lay off staff”. Even in bad times, donors hear this message as “do I want to support a failing organization?”

So…get cracking on that follow up. Be ready to ship it out in the second week of January. Be selective on whom you’ll reach out to.

Thanks for your attention. If I can be of any help in advising you on your fundraising approach, I’m just an e-mail or phone call away!

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