Mary Ellen ClarkMary Ellen Clark
Senior Vice President 

As we approach this year’s end we’re aware of increasing effects on giving.  It’s back to the basics we should all go to see that our annual fund is secure.  How you communicate this and how you approach donors for year-end gifts does not require additional skills, simply good basic fundraising tools. 

If you plan a direct mail campaign, be certain that yours is one of the first pieces that your donor receives.  This is not the time to delay mailing.  Recognize that your donor may be making more gifts as the economy has improved, so be sure that yours clearly thanks them for their previous support while letting them know your needs continue no matter the state of the economy.  Pay special attention to the look of the appeal, this might be time to add a teaser to the outside of the envelope, use a commemorative stamp or consider a reply card.  If your appeal traditionally comes from the organization’s CEO, add a personal letter of your own from the development officer with whom they are familiar.  This may be the only time during the year that the CEO sends them communication, so consider the addition of a message of news about the organization in this appeal.  

Place special emphasis on cultivating your current donors.  Phone calls, personal notes, invitations to tour a new project, lunch with the CEO or invitations to your organization’s holiday event continue to be important.  Be certain to do the same for key donors to your employee campaign, as they know your story better than anyone.

Be certain that your website is up-to-date, that fundraising success stories are mentioned and that ways to donate on-line for those donors new to this method of donation have clear instructions. With on-line donations increasing, this might be time to consider adding a brief survey to your website to learn more about your donors.

Keep them well informed, you never know who they are talking to and don’t forget the first rule of fundraising:  ASK! 

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