How to Plan a Year-End Giving Campaign – Part 2
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 08:28
The next couple of months are going to be a blur of activity. Families are rushing to get everything from Halloween treats to turkey dinners and Christmas presents. Your staff is likely working on some major projects...and there's a lot to be done. So while you're making plans, make sure to start thinking about your year-end giving campaign.
Last week, we talked about some of the initial planning ideas. This week, as promised, we'll talk about setting a timeline for your campaign. And, by the way, I realize that year-end giving isn't the only thing going on during this time of year, so feel free to use as little – or as much – of the suggested timeline.
To help maximize your message, I recommend an eight-week timeframe that begins Monday, November 3.
WEEK 1: (Week of November 3) Plan the basics – Determine the objective (What are you asking for), set your message (What will you say), and plan which channels you'll use to distribute the message (On-air, direct mail, e-mail, social).
WEEK 2: (Week of November 10) Set the launch date and write the copy. Write all of the key copy you'll need. Yes, this will take a full day. While you're working on it, draft your first direct mail piece and prepare to send it this coming week.
WEEK 3: (Week of November 17) Send your first direct mail piece on Monday. It will arrive at homes on Wednesday – a week before Thanksgiving. By mailing it on Monday, you'll give listeners time to think and respond before the holiday rush. At the same time you mail, start your on-air campaign. This should be something that refers to the letter, and begins the ask.
WEEK 4: (Week of November 24) This is Thanksgiving week, so listeners will be traveling or finalizing holiday plans. Keep the message consistent through the week so that listeners are aware of the need. Also keep in mind that this Friday is Black Friday and people will be out shopping. Use Friday to remind about the benefits of year-end giving.
WEEK 5: (Week of November 30) Monday is Cyber Monday. People will be online to snag some great deals. While they're online, direct them to drop by your web site and make a year-end donation! Also, start to increase the ask. Don't forget to share your message on all outbound channels: On-air, web, social media, e-mail and direct mail.
WEEK 6: (Week of December 7) Listeners are in full-on holiday mode. Office parties, kids' school presentations, and gift buying. Make sure your year-end giving message is getting high priority. If you are sending direct mail, drop your second ask this week. Use your station e-mails and weekly newsletters to highlight the year-end giving campaign.
WEEK 7: (Week of December 14) Heavy rotation of your year-end giving ask. All outbound channels should be highlighting the message. This is the biggest week for pre-Christmas asks.
WEEK 8: (Week of December 24) After Christmas Day, your primary focus is the year-end giving message. Use all outbound channels (On-air, e-mail, web, social) to share the message and remind listeners that they can make a tax-deductible donation. Some listeners will be out making last-minute drop offs at the local Goodwill or Salvation Army, so encourage them to come by the station.
WEEK 8.5 (Week of December 29) Don't forget that you have Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week to share the year-end giving message. Make the most of it!
FINAL THOUGHT: Over the years, I've found the greatest challenge to year end giving is this: I'm not the only one asking. Other non-profits are doing the same thing, and the danger is that listeners get weary of hearing the same message. So make your year-end giving message stand out. Find a positive, unique way to cut through the clutter and invite your listeners to share in the work of your station.