Part 2 of 2: Year End Campaign Planning for Event Fundraisers
Yesterday, I reviewed some of the reasons why engaging your event’s participants and donors in year end giving is a smart idea. Today, I’m going to give you some practical tips and tricks to help you get started on planning your event’s end-of-year campaign.
What’s typically included in a basic end of year campaign?
A basic end of year campaign includes a series of fundraising solicitations starting on the day after Thanksgiving and run through New Year’s Eve. For events, I’d recommend you use your event branding to guide the look and feel of your year end communications and that you focus on your online communication channels – Email, Website and Social Media.
Steps to Kick Start your event’s Year End Campaign:
- Ensure event fundraising is open Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. For fall events, this may require you to keep fundraising open through the end of the year. For spring events, this may mean that you should open your event registration prior to the Thanksgiving holidays. If this is not an option, then direct people to your organizations general donation form or to the form that is being used for your general year end giving form.
- Coordinate with your traditional giving peers. If your office is already running an end of year campaign, be sure to coordinate with your development peers to ensure that you are coordinating your messages. The goal of your work is to compliment, not compete with the efforts of the other fundraising groups within your organization.
- Develop a documented communication plan. Assuming that you are already documenting a communication plans for your event, this EOY communication planning should be an addition to your overall event communications. Focus on email as the driving force behind of your year end strategy, which are reinforced through social media updates.Communication Timing: Your first email and all your website & donation form content updates should be completed on Black Friday. Additional email updates can be scheduled sproatically through out the 6 week window. The week between Christmas & New Year’s is also critical. Be sure to schedule an email for the last business day before New Years Eve and also for New Year’s Eve.
Primary Audiences: current participants, past participants who haven’t registered, current donors and past donors who have not contributed. It’s really important that you tailor your messages based on the relationship that the prospective donor has to your event and your organization. Depending on your level of comfort with your email tools, this may require that you conditionalize content within a single email or that you send multiple emails.
- Socialize the your communication plan internally. This ensures that others within your organization are knowledgable of your activities and also help eliminate the chance that you might be overlapping year end communications with your other development peers.Tip from the Pros: Be sure to include donors to both the event’s end of year campaign or your traditional giving group’s campaign in your email exclusion groups. The quickest way to annoy your donors is to send requests once they have already contributed to your organization.
- Create your Year End campaign content. By the nature of their relationship to your event’s participants & donors have a unique reference point to your organization, you should be focusing on the unique aspects of that relationship. I’d recommend centering in on 2 for 1 nature of year end gift to peer-to-peer fundraising program. Their tax-deductible gift can supporting a loved one, while at the same time supporting your mission. My colleague Ken Cantu posted this clever mad libs year end templateto help you nail down the content basics.Unique Year End Campaign Ideas for Events:
- Email your current participants reminding them to contribute to their own fundraising
- Email last year’s donors who have not given this year encouraging them to donate this year
- Include an request to register in your email to past participants who haven’t registered
- Email last year’s participants who haven’t registered this year – You can’t attend this year? Donate instead!
- Place a self donation link in the participant center
- In emails to donors, provide a link to the participant search screen in addition to the event donation form
- Create a sense of urgency in social media posts by focusing on the # of days until New Year’s
- Build out your content. Build out emails, develop website updates and document your social media posts in advance. Many email and website content tools like Luminate Online and Sphere allow you to actually build out and schedule emails or website updates. Taking care of this during the Fall will take pressure off of creating assets in the middle of the campaign or, even better, allow you to enjoy your vacation while your Year End Campaign is on auto-pilot.
- Embrace your inner nerd and run some reports. I’m a HUGE advocate for using data to determine campaign successful and opportunities for improvement. For Year End Campaigning, focus on comparing stats year over year stats from the specific time period that you were running the year end campaign, in theory this would be from the day after Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Some of my favorite metrics for measuring Year end campaigns are total event fundraising, donation counts and average gift amount. Think about tracking these data points day by day basis, then overlaying your communication schedule. This will help you determine which specific messages, posts or tweets generated the most traffic for your campaign.
What are your event’s plans for the end of year soliciations? We’d love to hear what has worked for you or see some of your appeals, tell me about them in the comment area below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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