Do You See Me?

| by Mendi Nieters

Friday, during my annual eye exam, I saw an email that caught my eye. The 2018 Nonprofit Email Deliverability Study reported that on average 24 percent of 2017 nonprofit fundraising emails were going into spam folders. For the 55 large nonprofits they surveyed, this resulted in an average loss of $30,000. Regardless of your size, if individuals are not seeing your messages it’s likely they are not giving to you. At the end of the year, all messages are critical.  According to Nonprofits Source: 

  • 30% of annual giving occurs in December.  

  • 10% of annual giving occurs in the last 3 days of the year.  

Don’t fret yet. In a prior Armstrong McGuire email (if we did not go into spam) you might remember that philanthropic giving hit $410B in 2017, an increase of 5 percent Here’s a new stat, Overall revenue from online fundraising grew by 23 percent in 2017.”  This is after a 15 percent growth the year before. You can create more opportunity if you move emails from the spam box to the inbox. Better yet, make the personal connection and you can increase your returns. It’s all about engagement on multiple levels. 

While I appreciated the juxtaposition of testing my personal vision and unseen fundraising messages, I did have a momentary gasp. During my former days as a development director, this was the time I would refocus on end of year close out and our major appeals. Not only did I want people seeing my messaging, I wanted them engaging with our mission. Here is a short version of my checklist:  

  • Check the financials – How are we tracking? What do we need each month to hit our goals? 

  • Review and refresh end of year appeal schedules – Based on where we are, do we need to adjust? Review deadlines with teammates and understand any barriers and what deadlines have to be hit. 

  • Deep dive in the pipeline – Who is lapsed or getting ready to have lapsed?  What contact is needed to help donors feel good about their investment? Who else might be needed to help make contacts? 

  • Communicate and build consensus  I would then have a big development team pow wow. Does everyone understand the strategy? Do you understand your individual goals? What is scary? Who can help?  What ideas are not on the table?  

Communication and consensus were the biggest part of our closeout strategy. If everyone understands the strategy, everyone can help troubleshoot, field questions, lend support, and most importantly celebrate together. I would also extend this approach to the larger organization, staff, and board.  I wanted to make sure they knew messaging and drop dates in case they received feedback. If they had connections to prospects or were getting ready to interact, they could reinforce our strategy.  

As you are refining your end of year strategy, here are a few more stats from Nonprofits Source for fun: 

  • Online giving is already up 10.6% over last year. ^ 

  • Custom-branded donation pages nested inside a nonprofit’s website raise 6X more money. ^ 

  • Remarketing on Facebook, Google Adsense, Twitter, or LinkedIn can increase traffic to your donation pages. ^ 

  • On December 31st, online giving is concentrated between 12 PM and 7 PM. ^ 

  • 69% of the population gives. ^ 

  • 77% believe everyone can make a difference by supporting causes. 

The last stat is my favorite!  

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