One of the more interesting findings from the recently released 2014 M+R Benchmarks Study was that fundraising emails did not have a higher conversion rate in December. The study found that December fundraising email conversion rates were 0.06%, slightly lower than the overall rate of 0.07%.

Over the past several years, you’ve likely heard a lot about the importance of sending a multi-channel end-of-year campaign. We’ve seen that far more is raised online in December than any other month. And how people give larger gifts.

The assumption may have been people are more likely to donate via email in December. This report, though, indicates that may not necessarily be true.

It may simply be nonprofits raise more online in December because they’re sending more email (along with driving more traffic from multi-channel campaigns).

According to the study, 6.9 fundraising emails are sent in December. October was the second most popular month, with just 2.4 fundraising emails sent.

Move Away from End-of-Year Emails?

The data indicates fundraising emails sent outside of December have similar conversion rates. So does this mean nonprofits should think about rescheduling their end-of-year emails to another time?

Of course not.

More money is raised online in December than any other month. End-of-year fundraising emails have become an important part of online fundraising strategies.

But this data should help nonprofits overcome any hesitancy of sending fundraising emails during other months.

Non-December Fundraising Campaigns

So if nonprofits are more convinced email campaigns may work outside of December, the next question will be “What should the campaign be about?”

An urgent need or growing your sustainer program would be good candidates.

And if  Mother’s Day is still fresh in your mind, you may realize holidays are also good themes to create campaigns around.

Many of us felt some type of emotion leading up to Mother’s Day. We may feel it again for Memorial Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July and Valentine’s Day, among other holidays. This type of emotion can help move people to do some good in the world.

Help a mom in need. Give a veteran an all-terrain wheelchair. Honor dad with a gift to prostate cancer research.

Every holiday isn’t going to be related to your mission. But enough probably are that you can create additional campaigns around.

Similarly, you might also build campaigns around Awareness Days, Weeks and Months.

While a National Zombie Awareness campaign this month may not be the best fit, International Nurses Day was May 12th. I know of at least one healthcare foundation that centered their email campaign around honoring a nurse this week.

Reducing the Noise

One advantage of non-December fundraising campaigns is you’ll likely have less competition in the inbox. Retailers flood inboxes with holiday shopping offers and nonprofits send twice as many emails in December, including 2-4 times more fundraising emails.

By simply sending your email when there’s less activity in the inbox, you may have a better chance of connecting with your constituents and getting their support.

What success have you had with non-December campaigns?

Leave comments below or connect with Mike on Twitter

npexperts acquisition cta 3 Donor Acquisition Tips Everyone Learns on Their First Date

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.

Get nonprofit articles, best practice advice, fundraising ideas and invaluable industry reports and webinars delivered for free!