Creating a timeline can be incredibly beneficial in providing clear objectives during the final months of the year. Not only do you want to plan out what you’re going to send, you’ll also want to remember to check in with your goals and objectives to re-evaluate. Remember, having a fluid and dynamic strategy can help you make the most of your year-end push.
From social media and blog posts to emails and mailed letters, there are so many avenues of donor communication. That’s why thoughtfully planning out the timing of your communication strategy is vital to the success of your year-end campaign. To help you best sort out all the details and moving parts, check out the templates and tips below.
A content calendar can help you visualize when you are distributing content and what type of content you’re sending. This is especially true if you have a number of departments or staff members who contribute to your year-end material, even if it’s not all development driven.
Constant Contact has found that the best time for nonprofits to send emails is on Tuesdays at 8:00 PM. Note that while this is an industry standard, you should still pay attention to your own data to find out what may work best for your donors.
When it comes to getting your donors to open your emails, your success doesn’t solely depend upon timing. Try sending the same email with different subject lines to see which performs better. Email opens are only half the battle, so make sure you’re including actionable content once donors decide to click. Not sure what to add to your ask? Try including a video appeal to make your email stand out.
When creating your content calendar don’t leave out direct mail, the fundraising world’s heaviest-hitting solicitation format. This lofty title is well-earned, as direct mail has a 4.4% response rate compared to email’s 0.12% response rate. The Canada Post Corporation also completed a study that showed direct mail is easier for your donors to consume. In fact, processing direct mail uses 21% less brain power than digital content and has a 20% higher motivation response, meaning it’s more likely that your donor will take action when they receive a direct mail appeal.
Keep in mind, direct mail involves a longer turnaround time, so this is not for your last minute donor. Send out direct mail earlier in the season around September or October and leave time for a follow up communication.
If you’re looking to navigate the ever-changing landscape of social media, there’s one important rule to know: Not bombarding your followers with content is just as crucial as ensuring that you post consistently. That’s why a content calendar can be so valuable. Below are some guidelines for some of the most popular social media platforms:
- If you have 10,000 or more followers, post twice a day.
- A study conducted by Hubspot found that If you have fewer than 10,000 followers, posting 1-5 times a month may double traffic to your website.
- A Socialbakers study found that if you’re focused more on donor interaction with your organization, it’s best to tweet between 1 and 5 times daily.
- Union Metrics found that the number of times you post on Instagram doesn’t affect engagement as much as maintaining the consistency you set.
TruConversion, a company that tracks social media results, has pinpointed the following as the best times to post:
Facebook: 1-3 PM on Thursdays and Fridays
Twitter: 5 PM (although professionals and students alike user Twitter during work and school hours)
YouTube: 12-3 PM Thursday through Sunday
LinkedIn: 8 AM- 5 PM Monday through Friday
Instagram: 2 AM and 5 PM (Wednesday is the best day)
In addition to the timing of your year-end appeals, you’ll want to focus on the date and amount of your donor’s last contribution. If they are a first-time donor, getting a second gift is critical to retain them.
Future Fundraising Now has found that your most valuable donors are those who make a second gift within the first 3 months of their first gift. If they are not first-time donors, it may be a helpful practice to see what the average length of time is between gifts from your existing donor base. If most donors contribute every 2 months for example, you may want to build a separate mailing list specifically for donors who have given as recently as September to ensure that they do not receive your year-end ask until November.
Text message fundraising can be a great way to connect with donors who want to give just days before the year ends. With 90% of texts being read within 3 minutes, texts are a great tool to help you connect with donors last-minute. You could even consider sending out a New Year’s Eve text wishing your donors the best in the New Year with the option to make a quick donation.