As a fundraiser, these may be your busiest two weeks of the year. Between seeing your year-end campaign to the finish line, taking time off and maybe holiday traveling, it’s amazing you’ve found time to read this blog post.

If you are reading this, though, chances are you’re looking for a last-minute boost to your year-end campaign.

Here are four last-minute tips to boost your December fundraising emails:

  1. Say More Than “Dec. 31st” – While it’s important to note the Dec. 31st deadline, it shouldn’t be your entire pitch. How many Giving Tuesday emails did you receive asking you to make a Giving Tuesday gift on Giving Tuesday because it was Giving Tuesday? On Dec. 31st, highlight an urgent problem they can help solve. Describe the impact donations will make in 2015. Make a compelling ask and use Dec. 31st to add urgency.
  2. Put Your Best Ask Forward – Do you know what topics or approaches convert the best? If not, go back and analyze conversion rates from past email appeals. Perhaps it’s focusing on cancer problems for hospital foundations. Or animal neglect for animal welfare organizations. Maybe it’s a straight-forward ask than telling a story. Or stating a goal. Whatever converts best – if it fits into your campaign – now’s the time to reuse it.
  3. Avoid Making the Ask in the Subject Line – Asking constituents to give via your subject line is putting the cart before the horse. What’s the incentive to open the email? They know you want their money. As Gail Perry reminded us recently, MailChimp found using “Donate,” “Fundraising,” and “Helping” in your subject line decreases open rates. Instead, create interest around your need.
  4. Dec. 27-28 Will Likely Have Less Competition  – In 2012, nonprofits using Luminate Online sent fewer emails on Dec. 29th and 30th (weekend dates) than the previous year. NextAfter found nonprofits also sent significantly fewer emails the weekend of Dec. 28-29, 2013. If the last two years are any indication, the weekend of Dec. 27-28 will likely see fewer email appeals in your constituents’ inbox. Consider taking advantage. Not sure about moving up one of your emails to that date? Then consider testing it by sending to 25% or 50% of your email list.

I should also note that, if you haven’t engaged constituents over the previous 50 weeks, there isn’t really a magic pill for these last two weeks. Coming out of left field with fundraising asks to people who don’t recognize you in their inbox usually won’t end well. But assuming you have, these four tips can give you a last-minute boost. If you have other tips for our readers, please share them below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Snusz brings over 11+ years of nonprofit experience to his role as a principal strategy consultant at Blackbaud. He focuses on helping nonprofits create online fundraising, email, P2P, social media, SEO, analytics and website optimization strategies to maximize giving opportunities. Mike previously managed the turnaround of the Ride For Roswell, including the event’s growth from $330,000 to $1.2 million over a three-year period. Connect with Mike on LinkedIn and Twitter at @mikesnusz. To learn how Mike can help your organization’s next fundraising campaign, contact him at mike.snusz@blackbaud.com.

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