To get what you never had, you have to do what you've never done." -Thomas Jefferson
Our year-end plan is only one step toward impact. Our attitude guides our steps, and our hearts are what determine our attitude. We pray that our hearts, and yours, be tuned to sing God's grace. For he provides a way when there is no way, he fills our hearts when they are empty and broken, and he is fulfilling His will - in us, in our work, in the communities in which we serve, and in the hearts of our supporters. It is not our job to coerce our friends into giving us money. It is our joy to show them how God is making a difference, and then to invite them to participate alongside us. Let hospitality to Kingdom work be our greatest achievement during the last few months of 2017. Let's rest without anxiety, without fear of failure. Let's approach fundraising with a heart that is rooted in the truth that God has enough, not in a narrative of scarcity. As we present a guide for your year-end giving plan, please remember we are here to teach and to coach, and we pray that we are guiding each of you in to a deeper state of satisfaction and confidence in Jesus.
Let's get started!
The first item on the agenda is planning out what your Year-End Fundraising Plan will look like. In August all of our Ministry Partners received an email from us encouraging you to take a look back on your 2016 Year-End Giving Plan. If you haven't taken time to review it, please do so now.
Consider whether or not you were successful with your plan last year. Analyze what defines "success" according to your goals. Financial goals are important and spur us on when we hit a rough patch, but improving your fundraising skills is equally as important, too. So consider setting goals related to your skill growth - determine to schedule 10 face-to-face meetings, to make weekly social media posts for the rest of the year, or to update your mailing list with correct contact info. We will help you make a strategic plan in the form below.
Finally, discuss your new plan with your team. Whether your team is an an official advisory board, a set of close friends whose opinions your trust, or your spouse, make sure you are putting this in front of other people's eyes. You'll need the support and the accountability of having other people know your plan.
Tell a story that resonates with your supporters and inspires
them to give!
Now that the prep work has been tackled, it's time to create a theme for your year end campaign. A theme ties your work together; it should be an overarching narrative that fits with your organization's mission. Consider adopting a theme that you will implement through 2018, not just for the next three months.
When creating your donor material for the year-end, remember to use powerful imagery, it is invaluable. Consider creating unique material for each mode of communication with your supporters that all fit within your same theme. Using the same colors and images and similar wording will tie all of your communication together, but the variety in the materials will prevent donors from feeling harassed by repeated information.
Will you be hosting any fundraising events this season? Don't forget to include your theme in your material there!
Remember: We are here to invite our supporters in to the work of Jesus. Let your theme call to their hearts, not to coerce, but to inspire. A strong combination of story, imagery, and invitation will create an impactful appeal for your supporters.
Donors want to feel like their donations are making dreams happen,
not solving your problems!
Once your theme is set and your donor materials are ready to be handed out, it's time to work on donor meetings. Try to set up face-to-face meetings (FaceTime or Skype, if you're international). These are the most effective fundraising tools in your toolbox.
Whichever modes of communication you utilize, make sure you clearly communicate your goals for your ministry (outside of fundraising) for the next year, and don't forget to emphasize the role of your supporters.
This is an appropriate time to ask for a year-end donation, so don't shy away from that. Try to communicate the ask in a way that shows you are fulfilling dreams, and not just putting out fires. The latter can cause donor exhaustion. We all want happy news from time to time.
Finally, it is imperative that you follow through with each supporter. If you send them a postcard, be sure to send a follow up with an email two weeks later if you haven't heard back. If you have a donation come through in response to your year end giving update, you mustsend a thank you (in fact, this is a great time to handwrite thank you cards to anyone who made a donation made in 2017). In your meetings or mailings, you can set the stage for your follow up, by communicating that you'll be sending more info in a few weeks. This keeps you from feeling like you're bombarding your supporters, while also staying fresh in their minds.
We've created Launch Pad to help you put a fundraising plan in place, to help you stay organized, and to help hold you accountable.