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

__Monthly donors

__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….

Continue reading “Checklist For Year-End Appeals”

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