Now that the holidays are over and we have begun a new year, it’s a perfect time to refelct on the hoidays and realize that it truly is the season of giving. I just threw away the last lingering annual holiday appeal that was in my pile of “to do’s” having made that donation online two days before the year officially ended. For my CLIENTS who sent appeals, the success stories are coming-in, and the reports are positive. Fact #1: People give more money away in December than any other month of the year. Fact #2: ANNUAL APPEALS work.
Many people ask me if sending an e-appeal can be sent in leu of a snail mail appeal. The answer is, “Yes, but that it will yield less dollars than if you do both”. For example, the artists and organizations that took the time and effort to send me a snail mail appeal got a donation from me (which ironically, I ultimately gave on-line). Sending a snail mail shows your serious, committed and willing to spend a few bucks to make more vs. anyone and everyone can send an e-appeal (and they certainly do indicated by the look of one’s inbox in December).
Soooooo….if you were not able to send a holiday mailing this past December, I recommend you begin your preparations NOW for next year cause we all know how time flies. Here are my suggestions for getting yourself prepared throughout the year:
- For those that did send a mailing, be sure to thank your donors swiftly and genuinely. A simple thank you note, including their tax-deductible information, will do.
- Stay connected to your donors/mailing list throughout the year. This means sending a newsletter at least once or twice. It’s nice to message folks when you’re not always asking them for money, and instead reporting-out on all the good work you’ve been doing.
- Get into a rhythm of keeping your snail mail addresses up to date throughout the year. If someone moves and emails you their new address, input that data into your database or excel spreadsheet right away. It’s a total hassle if you wait until November and are then scrambling to get all your family and friend’s info on time.
- Plan and save for this expense now- it’s worth it in the long-run. If you know now that you’re going to plan to send an appeal than the cost will not surprise you last minute. Plan for costs associated with materials (paper, envelopes), printing, postage, and if you need to hire some to help you stuff, stamp and send.
- Think about the content of the letter throughout the year. Have a place where you can jot down ideas as they come to you. Perhaps you want to tell your donor base about your company’s evolution this coming year, so it would be nice to have some notes to this effect when it comes time to draft the letter in the Fall.
- Make a timeline and execute! Don’t wait until November and then decide you want to send a holiday appeal. Decide now and make a timeline in your calendar. For example: send newsletter in April, begin to draft letter ideas in August, so on and so forth.
Sending a holiday appeal is a bit of work up front, but if executed properly, I think you’ll find it will make your holiday season (and subsequent New Year) even brighter.