Ah yes, Spring is in the air! Bright blue skies, tiny sprouts unfurling tender leaves, and families venturing out for fresh air and a bit of recreation following months of isolation. What does this mean for our social benefit organizations? Why, it’s time for your Spring Appeal, of course!
I know, I know. We are just emerging from one of the darkest winters in modern history. We have a newfound appreciation for teachers, grocery clerks, and health care workers, and we’ve Zoomed our way through more meetings, galas, and fundraising auctions than Elroy Jetson on a space scooter. But, as usual dear reader, there is no rest for the weary!
Spring is a great time to invite your individual donors and prospects to give outside of your typical “year-end” appeal. In fact, if you don’t already offer a significant giving opportunity each and every spring, now is the time to hop on it. (No Easter Bunny pun intended.)
“But, Stacy…”, you might be thinking, “…we already have a Spring fundraising event.” That’s OK. In fact, that’s great! You can STILL have a successful Spring appeal. Following are a few tips to help you along your way:
- If you have a Spring fundraising event, be strategic with your timing. Create space between your donors’ receipt of the event invitation and the mailing of your Spring appeal. This allows you to suppress those who have contributed to your event while also offering a second giving opportunity to those who have declined the invitation or not responded.
- Have an appropriate strategy for your major donor prospects. (Don’t include them with your mass direct mail appeal!) At the very least, segment out your best prospects and give them special care. This can include personalized letters, handwritten notes, follow up calls, and even a meeting request for a “face-to-face” solicitation. A little personal touch goes a long way.
PRO-TIP: Get noticed! Handwrite your personal note on the FRONT of the letter, near the address block, instead of at the end near the signature block. BONUS POINTS if you handwrite your name above the return address on outside envelope.
- Send a second pass. Three weeks after the first appeal is mailed, send a follow up letter. Though it takes a little more effort, this simple step can have a substantial impact on your rate of return. And of course, don’t forget the remit envelope!
- Use your digital tools to reinforce your message. Develop an integrated email campaign, social media posts, and create a special website donation page to water the fundraising seeds you’ve so carefully sowed. I promise, your digital efforts will help them grow.
- And, my number one tip for today is…ask for a specific gift amount! Your request should be informed by your donors’ relationship with your organization and past giving history. For major donor prospects, keep the bigger picture in mind. The action you take with your highest-level prospects should be part of a larger, year-long strategy.
For some, these tips are already part of your routine action plan. For others, I encourage you to pick one or two ideas you can try this year. And remember, My Philanthropy Team is always here to support you every step of the way. If you’d like a thought-partner to help build out your major gifts program, an annual fundraising specialist to write your appeal and manage the mail house, or the hands-on support of a digital fundraising strategist, MPT has you covered. Click here to schedule a conversation to tell us about your fundraising program. As former “in-house” development professionals, we LOVE to talk shop and we have many more tips to share. We can’t wait to hear from you!