We are coming to the end of October. The Dollarama is already selling Christmas decorations. Before you know it, Starbucks will be brewing their Christmas blend and pumping out holiday carols.
This is the time of year when all charities ramp up their solicitation and bring in most of their donations. People, including your own staff, are busier at work and in their personal lives. Companies and charities are seizing every opportunity to pull at the public’s heart strings. How does a small non-profit compete with all the chaos?
Start now. Prioritize your to-do list to make room for a heavy dose of communication and fundraising. If you have a communications or development person on your team, ask them what they need to accomplish everything on their to-do list and provide support. If you are the communications team, outline your communications plans to your ED and ask for the support you need. You will likely need to work with program staff to uncover compelling stories for content. Schedule time to meet with program staff and prepare well for those meetings to keep them brief.
Focus on your organization’s most effective communication channels. I found this comprehensive article from Mighty Citizen which provides tips for almost all the communication channels out there. Warning: it is a long read and you won’t be able to everything in this article! This is why you need to know the best way to communicate with your organization’s supporters. It is also good to know why donors give to your cause and tell those stories. Use these communication channels to send out content your supporters will appreciate. Take the time to create and curate high-quality content. In the midst of a chaotic holiday season, your well-crafted and thought-provoking content will stand out.
If you’re looking for a place to start, I wrote a short article on communication channels for churches that easily translates to donor-engagement in nonprofits.
Create a path of least resistance for your donors. You want to make sure that when your supporters or donors feel compelled to give, they can, effortlessly. Integrate a simple donation form into the landing page of your website and add a link to your donation page in all your email communications. Send return envelopes (addressed to your organization) and a easy-to-use donation form with your direct mail.
Don’t forget about Giving Tuesday. Make a specific plan for how you will draw attention to your organization on November 27th. Call a few local newspapers today and tell them that you have a great story for Giving Tuesday. Tell a story about one of your volunteers or donors. Again, think about why your donors give to your mission? In what unique ways are your supporters “giving” to and engaging with your organization.
CanadaHelps has developed a helpful charity toolkit for making the most of Giving Tuesday.
Measure your success. Know the metrics that will help you understand the effectiveness of various engagement strategies. For example, with an email campaign you will want to measure open-rates and click-rates to see whether people are reading your email and if they are clicking through to your website.
When you approach this chaotic holiday season next year, you will thank yourself for having measured the most productive communication channels!
Need more help? Send us an email or give us a call.