Checklist For Year-End Appeals
Many organizations raise the greatest proportion of their funds in the critically important year-end giving season — the extraordinary philanthropic window that opens somewhere in October and stays open through the end of the year.
Here's a checklist refined over the years at Craver, Mathews, Smith for developing year-end strategies, plans and creative. I've taken the liberty of annotating this version.
__Date of Appeal #1
__Date of Appeal #2
__Date of Email or Video Reinforcer #1
__Date of Email or Video Reinforcer #2
__Date of Telemarketing Campaign
Annotation: I recommend at least two mail pieces or one mail piece and one telephone solicitation PLUS reinforcing e-mails and — as we've been saying, VIDEOS — in this critical season.
You know the patterns of your donor file best, but as a general rule the first appeal, say in early November, should be followed-up with another to non-respondents in early to mid-December along with new media reinforcers –video or text — either right before the mail is received or right after. Of course, those donors for whom you don't have postal addresses should receive appropriate electronic versions.
__All donors who gave in this same period last year
__All current multiple, non-monthly donors regardless of what time of year they gave
__All higher dollar donors
__All or test of 18-24 month lapsed donors who made previous gifts in this seasonal window
__All first-year donors
__Test of information inquiries, e-mail activists
__Legacy/Planned Giving Expectancies and Prospects
Annotation: Partly for reasons explained below under Creative/Messaging, and partly because different donor segments warrant different treatment, give careful thought to the offers you're making and the information you're including for various segments.
For example, with mid-level and higher-level donors you may want to include an insert and/or copy on the opportunity and advantages of giving a gift of appreciated securities. And, at least for the year 2007, U.S. donors who are 70 1/2 years or older can make gifts of up to $100,000 from their IRA's without having to count the distribution as current income. This Charitable IRA Rollover provision produced more than $50 million in the first four months it went into effect according to the National Committee on Planned Giving.
Checklist continues below….