Keep Your Foot On The Gas: December 31st

Today is THE day for nonprofit fundraising. No other day of the year matches December 31st for fundraising.

I am going to give you some instructions for the emails that you will send today. But first, let's talk about what makes these emails so effective today.

Your appeals for resources are extra powerful today because you came into this week and this day with a plan. If you didn't, you should have.

Great fundraising doesn't accidentally happen. You get the money you need because you study the process, you get Providence behind you, and you boldly ask for what you need.

What do I mean when I say that you should hit this week and today with a plan. Here's what I mean. Successful fundraising on December 31st, the most lucrative day of the year for nonprofit fundraising, depends on what you did in January, February, March, April, May, June...

Great fundraising involves the rhythm of asking, thanking, and reporting. Here's where fundraisers hurt themselves: THEY MAJOR ON THE ASKING AND MINOR ON THE THANKING AND REPORTING.

When you haven't spent the year majoring in thanking and reporting, it hinders your ability to ask boldly and receive what you need.

Fundraisers who take full advantage of the end-of-year opportunity have spent the year majoring on thanking and reporting. One of the most significant ways to thank donors is to give them stories of the impact that their giving has done before December 31st.

Before you spend the week appealing for money the last week of December, you have told stories of your constituents whose lives have been impacted for the better by your mission. You have maxed out on stories about your donors' journey into the giving community of your organization. You have told stories about volunteers and the values that they serve when they give their time for you.

Before you spend the last week of the year making strong and unashamed appeals to see your mission fully funded, you have spent the year interacting with your donors, saying thank you in excellent ways, and constantly investing in them with great stories.

IF you have not invested in your donors for the previous eleven months, then your strong appeals here at the end-of-year will fall on deaf ears.

I am saying that great end-of-year fundraising starts in January.

Ok, let's talk about the emails you will send today.

First, let me again talk to you about the fear that some of you have, that you are sending too many emails here at the end of the year. Consider some of these things:

  • Everyone doesn't get all your emails. The average open rate is somewhere at 25%. That means that for every 100 emails you send, 75 of them remain unopened. Everyone is not receiving all your emails.

  • My donors will get burned out. Trust me; they won't! If they know you and believe in you, they like that you are working hard to fund your mission.

  • Unless you are sending twelve appeal letters, six printed newsletters, and fifty email appeals every year, you are not sending too much! (Steven Screen, This is the level that the organizations that live with being fully funded are at because they have found that it works!)

Fundraisers who get the money they need have made a very intentional trade-off. They get the money they need in exchange for a few unsubscribes and complaints. You have to make the quality decision for yourself if you can make that exchange.

Do you believe that your mission is divine? Do you believe that what you are doing matters supremely? Do you believe that people will suffer if your mission doesn't get done?

Here's the truth, IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE IN WHAT YOU ARE DOING, NO ONE ELSE WILL. Donors respond to your passion or the lack of it. When you believe in something enough that you will unashamedly and without reservation ask for help to make it happen, people will step forward and help you do it!

The world waits for leaders with that kind of passion!

So, let me say, if you don't feel secure in sending a couple more emails today, then don't. It would be best to do what you feel good about and what your organization feels is ok.

Don't forget to keep your supporters updated on your progress if you have set a goal.

Today, with some changes, we will resend that same email that I gave you two days ago. (go back and get it if you need it).

Now, if you can, don't send it to the people who have given in the last few days. (If you can't do that, don't worry about it).

If you use a template to do your email, please abandon it. Your email should look like you sat down and typed it right from your desk—no fancy stuff. A plain email directly from you works best.

Here are some things to change:

Subject line: Only hours left to help__Your Constituent.

First line:

There are just hours left to send in a special year-end gift before midnight tonight!

Delete everything up to the "Here's why your help is needed today:"

Line before the salutation:

Please, will you send a year-end gift by midnight to help ONE BENEFICIARY/THE CAUSE?

Say a prayer, press send and let me know what happens!



Subject line: Only a few hours left to help the homeless!

Donors first name,

There are just hours left to send in a special year-end gift before midnight tonight!

Will you please make a year-end gift today to fill in the outcome your mission accomplishes?

Your gift will help...

These two sentences will describe the service the donor's gift will provide from your organization.

Would you please send a year-end gift before midnight tonight to help (your beneficiaries)?


P.S. Please make your gift before midnight to help (your constituents).

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