A collaborative article of ideas gathered by: Shelley Cochrane, Liz Hall, Christa Huff, Robert Johnson, and Amy Sewell
LAY THE GROUNDWORK
1. Identify your goal. How much money do you need to raise by December 31?
2. Set your strategy. Clearly communicate why you need the money. What good things will happen because the donor gives or what bad things can they prevent by giving before the end of this year? Don’t forget: remind your supporters of the great things that have happened as you have partnered in your shared cause this year.
3. Matching gifts can boost results! If you can find a major donor (or 10) to provide a match lead, this can help boost both your response rates and average donor gift size.
OPTIMIZE AND TEST
4. Optimize your online donation form for year-end. You can temporarily remove or hide extraneous fields (i.e. the second address line, extra phone numbers, billing address fields, and comments forms, unless frequently used).
5. Roll out handy payment processors! Make it as easy as possible by giving donors the opportunity to use payment processors like PayPal or Apple Pay.
6. Review your donation form on a mobile device. With the rise in smartphone use, reviewing your donation form on mobile allows you to ensure it loads quickly and is formatted properly.
7. Review your homepage on a mobile device. Potential donors might come directly to your website homepage via mobile, so like your donation page, you need to test the mobile view.
8. Test your email send times before the last week of the year. This is particularly important if you normally send first thing in the morning. That’s a congested time of day, so if you can get good open and response rates at other times, you can adjust accordingly to avoid inbox congestion.
9. Test engagement strategies like countdown clocks and progress bars.
10. Test personalization in the subject line and content of the email.
11. Take advantage of your digital channels the last week of the year. This is the peak online giving timeframe, so you need to communicate well, frequently, and on all digital channels—schedule social posts, ads, and emails on your communications calendar. A single email or post in the last week of the year isn’t sufficient, so you will want to include a few messages throughout the week and more than one message on December 31!
12. Implement a quality control process for your work. Send test emails and have multiple people read them to ensure consistency across email platforms and internet browsers. And, don’t forget to have someone proof your work! We are often so close to the content we produce—and have looked at it so many times—that we might overlook errors. Having another set of eyes on our work helps prevent embarrassing mistakes. We’ve all been there!
13. Be sure to receipt within 24-48 hours.
And be sure to include a reply envelope. You will be surprised at the number of people who give a second gift.
14. Avoid these pitfalls:
· Don’t migrate your CRM in the last two or three months of the year.
· Don’t try too many new things at once.
· Be sure that whatever you’re trying, you’re able to see the actual results generated.