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Turn Holiday Giving Into Year-Round Donor Engagement

By Elizabeth King

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the nonprofit landscape and having a huge impact on fundraising. It’s forcing organizations to rethink large-scale, in-person fundraisers and get very creative in how they engage donors. To do this, nonprofits need to focus on year-round donor engagement.

Year-round donor engagement can be broken into three parts: cultivation, stewardship and volunteer engagement. Rather than wait until January, the Holiday Giving season is the perfect time to begin cultivating new and repeat donors.

 Donor Cultivation: Start with End-of-Year Fundraising

Why should nonprofits invest in an End-of-Year fundraising campaign? Because 30% of all giving happens in the month of December and 10% of annual giving comes on the last three days of the year.

The goal of an End-of-Year fundraising campaign is to capitalize on holiday goodwill and year-end donations. This typically kicks off with a peer-to-peer fundraising effort on Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and is designed to engage donors in your mission and demonstrate the impact their contribution will have through your organization. It’s followed by a communication campaign through New Year’s Eve that provides donors an easy way to contribute.

Stewardship: Create a Thank You Campaign

During the End-of-Year fundraising campaign, you will engage major donors, repeat donors and first time donors. These donors are excited about your cause and have contributed money to help your organization make a difference. You don’t want to lose their support in the future, so it is important to build those relationships through a donor appreciation and retention strategy.

The goal of the Thank You communication campaign is to thank donors for their contribution, show the impact of their contribution, and build a relationship that encourages them to continue supporting your organization in the future.

Volunteer Engagement: Strengthen Donor Relationships

Because of COVID-19, special events and large in-person fundraising activities may no longer be a viable option for your nonprofit. However, this provides an opportunity to focus on formalizing and expanding your volunteer program to increase fundraising opportunities among individual donors.

How can a volunteer program increase fundraising? According to a study by Fidelity Charitable, 87% of volunteers donate to the nonprofits where they volunteer. In addition, they donate 10 times more than individual donors.

A Volunteer Engagement campaign’s goal is to strengthen donor relationships by converting them to volunteers. Converting donors to volunteers gets them actively engaged in the mission and operation of your organization. It’s then possible to follow up with an intentional fundraising ask.

 

The goal of year-round donor engagement is to grow your donor base and increase your fundraising by building a group of supporters who engage and believe in your mission. Take advantage of the Holiday Season to begin donor cultivation and start 2021 with a strong donor engagement strategy.

Want Some Help?

With more than 20 years experience in community relations, fundraising and communications, Elizabeth King Consulting has the tools and knowledge to create a custom communication strategy to meet your organization’s needs. To learn more, visit www.ElizabethKingConsulting.com or call (918) 853-6771.

About The Author

Elizabeth King, APR, is a public relations professional with more than 20 years of experience in internal and external communications, employee engagement and education, community relations, fundraising and foundation administration, and event management.

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