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October 3, 2020 Amy Sewell

The end of the year is the most critical fundraising season—particularly when you’re talking about online fundraising. And, believe it or not, it starts right now. Now is the time to plan, test, and make the optimizations that can be the difference between meeting and exceeding your fundraising goals. For the best results between now and December 31, we recommend six critical actions you can take now, all of which help the organizations we serve to raise more when it matters most.

  1. Identify a good offer (or reason for someone to give). This is the time to make a clear, concrete ask. What do your donors enjoy giving to, and where are your organization’s greatest needs? If you’re not sure, take a look back at previous messages you’ve sent and identify what types of asks have raised the most money. If you have a strong performer that your organization still needs additional funds for, this will help point you in the right direction of a good offer idea.
  1. Can you get a match? A matching challenge is a surefire way to boost your revenue. Start thinking of donors you could ask to provide a year-end match now so that there’s time to secure the match and plan communications.
  1. Set a campaign schedule. The last week of the year will be the most important—especially online. But start your online campaign in the first or second week of December so that donors have earlier opportunities to give, particularly for those who aren’t waiting until the last minute. Continue to message donors and non-donors throughout the month. Also, be sure to coordinate your digital communications to support any direct mail pieces you’re sending in December—the messaging should be similar, and there should be something on the homepage that makes sense for those receiving the mailing.
  1. Increase email communication. During the month of December, most organizations are served well by increasing the number of email sends. Be sure to save at least three emails for the last week of the year.
  1. Simplify website donations. Make it quick and simple for website visitors to get to your donation form. Homepage banners, hover ads, and a bar across website pages all drive revenue. Be sure to look at your donation page on your phone and make a test gift. If the donation process is slow or complex, you will lose donors.
  1. Set up targeted advertising. December can be a great time to run ads on platforms like Facebook, Google, or Bing. It allows your organization to be in front of people and gives them the opportunity to donate. If you’ve never used these platforms before, get familiar with them now in preparation for year-end.
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