Summer is notoriously difficult for non-profits. With vacations, home projects, and intentional family outings, fundraising takes a back seat to supporters other priorities. The good news is that with the arrival of cooler weather and the school year in full swing, fundraising begins picking up!
The IRS says that more than 40% of all charitable giving happens in the fourth quarter of the year. This means that about a million non-profits, ministries and missionaries are gathering ideas, setting goals and planning right now... are you?
Are your supporters just dollar $igns? Or are they truly involved in the works of your ministry? The steps you take these next few months will project who you are and what your ministry is about, and can move your supporters from simply being aware of what you do, to then giving to what you do, to (prayerfully) doing it with you!
In a season full of solicitations, let's all commit to be a light. We aren’t just representing our organizations and those we serve, we’re representing Christ. Unfortunately, when it comes to fundraising, it can be easy for us to misrepresent Him.
A way to represent Christ and your ministry well is to tell stories. This is one of the main ways Jesus taught. In Luke 18: 1 it says, “Jesus told them a story to teach them.”
Let's make our anthem for year-end giving be STORY.
Let's tell personal, real stories of what God is doing in our ministries, in the lives of those we serve, and our own lives. This is the Good News. This is the Gospel. Let's be intentional about opening up, about conveying the true impact of what is happening, let's be real and honest and the Lord will continue to bless our work.
This can be a little overwhelming. To reduce the stress of communicating your story in a one page letter without being overly wordy or being brief ambiguous, let us help you organize a plan to share bits and pieces of your story over the next 3 months. We can help you create a to do list for October, November and December. The following information will be helpful while trying to prioritize your to do list!
September - October
Break out of your routine!
1. Send hand written thank you's to all big donors monthly supporters
2. Include a handwritten message in your regular newsletter
3. Update & spice up your website and social media accounts
4. Mail a prayer postcard in mid-October. Something modern and aesthetically pleasing that your mother would want to put on the fridge. This is not a chance to ask for financial support. Think about asking around for some graphic design help i this isn't your cup of tea.
5. Have 3-5 face-to-face meetings: maybe you'll have to use Skype - that's ok! Share about your ministry over the past year, tell them about your dreams for the future. Get personal!
Your goal is to get your ministry on your supporters minds. Remind them why they love you and your work: Tell your story!
Get your creative juices flowing!
1. Begin to write your year-end letter. It should be colorful, upbeat and one page in length. Included with the letter should be a pledge card, return envelope and a short explanation telling the recipient how to give online as well.
2. Continue having face-to-face meetings. Note: people will be very busy in December and will not be able to meet up.
3. Mail your year-end letter between November 21 and November 30. We know some of you only do email and email marketing; sending something via snail mail will make a big impact on your donors!
Appeal to your core donors! Celebrate the ways they have helped you accomplish your victories and invite them to continue partnering with you in the future. Give them a single, focused call to action. Don't ask them to click here to watch a video or read your mission statement, that's what Sept., Oct. and the first part of Nov. are for.
Personalize, personalize, personalize!
1. Follow up: If you are going to send a letter asking for money, you should always follow up! Shoot a personalized email or text to each of your donors to whom you sent a letter!
2. Again, try to setup a few face-to-face meetings, but remember that it's a busy time of the ear so you might have to depend on the phone and email.
3. Between December 12-19, send a 4 x 6 postcard with a picture of you doing ministry, you and your staff team, or you and your family. Postcards are cheaper to print because four fit on a single printed page. Postcards are also cheaper to mail than regular mail, so be sure to ask for postcard stamps when you are at the post office. On the back of the postcard, have a generic messaged typed out, "Merry Christmas from our family! To learn more or to partner with us, please visit givetransform.org/perception-funding."
These resources can really help you maximize your plan:
Historically, our ministry partners who follow the steps above receiving a significantly higher percentage of year end donations compared to our partners who choose not to follow the steps.
Some parts may seem insignificant, but when worked as a system, these steps becomes an amazing way to keep your ministry in front of your supporters during this valuable season without being repetitive or annoying.
Fill out the form below so we can help you out!
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.