Nadia Chergui, Fundraising Officer at APOPO Vzw, shares the year-end fundraising strategies that raised $44,000 from nearly 500 donors.
Q: What’s your No. 1 tip for nonprofit fundraisers who are now planning their year-end campaigns?
A: Understand your audience. This will not only affect the tone of your messaging, but the information you include. If you have an international supporter base, consider the time-difference and perhaps send messages in batches depending on the location of the receiver. To American audiences, talk about dollars, to those based in the Europe, talk about raising pounds and Euros.
If you have a unique selling point that can help you stand out then you should use it. Year-end is a popular time for giving, but there is more competition than ever and there are thousands of worthwhile organisations competing for funds. Do what you can to differentiate yourself from the crowd and highlight how your supporters can contribute to your success.
Q: How did you use social media in your year-end campaign?
A: We used our social media to support our year-end campaign with a focus on engagement and encouraging people to participate in our work wherever possible. We ran a number of competitions that served to promote our flagship HeroRAT adoption whilst providing fun ways for people to get involved and win prizes. One example is a giveaway that asked our supporters to tag a friend that would love a HeroRAT adoption. Then, we would select one of them as a winner. This simple competition helped us to capture new audiences, delivered peer-to-peer recommendations, and generated new adoptions. In the spirit of the holidays, we didn’t just ask for more. We tried to provide engaging, positive content around our work that was free of a hard ask, but rather served to thank our audience for their existing support and contributions.
Q: Why do you think your year-end campaign went so well? What will you do differently for this year’s year-end fundraising campaign?
A: I think it is because we used a range of marketing channels to reach out to our whole audience. This year, it might be worth considering the highlighting the benefits of donating via GlobalGiving. This is something we haven’t really touched on. For example, GG can give tax receipts to US donors and claim Gift Aid on behalf of UK taxpayers. Donors also receive regular project reports, which would appeal to many of our supporters.
Q: What outreach methods did you try during the Year-End Campaign? What worked best with your supporters?
A: A range of methods. We sent targeted emails to our supporter base. We reached out with personal emails to our high value donors, as well putting announcements on our social media channels. Don’t forget to ask colleagues to share the announcement on their personal Facebook page! It is also a good idea to alert your CEO and others within your organisation, as they may have contacts within their networks that they could personally reach out to. Adding that personal approach can make all of the difference.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new approaches that will help you to stand out, too. Whether it is a Holiday Carol Concert delivered by Twitter, a caption contest, or a quiz, if you can get people involved with your work you can create a stronger bond that will pay dividends in years to come. There are few things better or more powerful than a donor who loves your work and wants to tell the world about it.
Q: Everyone wants to know the secret to attracting new donors to their project. What was your strategy behind gaining more than 300 new supporters (wow!) in one campaign?
A: We are fortunate in that we have a unique proposition in giant detection rats that gives us an advantage and helps us attract new donors. It’s not easy, but try to find something unique about your organization that will resonate with your existing audience and new ones. It is also worth asking your existing supporters to share your work and recommend you where they can.
Q: After such a successful campaign, how did you thank your donors and steward the relationship to ensure they stick with you?
A: We thanked every single donor by email and sent a special message from our CEO to those who donated a significant amount of money. Additionally, we created special messages on social media to acknowledge the contribution of our supporters and the difference they’ve made. We try to be as personal as we can and to show our human side. We do our best to acknowledge what the gift will do, the difference it will make, and how grateful we are to receive their support.
Q: When did you start planning your year-end strategy? What did that process look like?
A: We generate a large proportion of our income at the Year-End and consequently it is always in the back of our minds. The Year-End campaigning will be discussed throughout the year as we also work to develop our products, promotional assets, and messaging ahead of the end of year rush. The finer planning for the Year-End campaign typically starts in October. It would ideally start sooner.
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