It’s one of the unspoken rules of end-of-year planning, but it’s still one of the most critical. In order to find success at end-of-year, you need to be cultivating your donors all year long in every channel. With the proper planning and year-round strategy, your end-of-year fundraising campaign can be the “cherry on top” of fortified supporter relationships.
What steps can you be taking now to set that foundation? Start working cultivation and stewardship into everything you do. Send some emails that aren’t asking for a donation, and instead share a success story or two—with no request included. Mail a handwritten thank-you card to a select group of lapsed donors. Create and send a quick video of staff or clients thanking the donors for their support. Feel free to get creative here. Your goal should just be to engage your supporters in a non-transactional way, allowing them to feel the pure connection to your organization and its cause.
Once you have a plan in place to engage your current supporters, it’s time to turn your attention to building a strategy for stewarding the new and re-engaged donors who come in through your end-of-year campaign. The easiest and most effective way to do this is to build a welcome series for new supporters. An automated series of emails sent to new supporters over a set period of time can educate and inspire new supporters without making them feel like you’re only reaching out to them for money—a real risk if you plop new supporters right into your regular email flow. A welcome series gives you the opportunity to introduce your organization and mission, learn more about these valuable new supporters, and ease them into the regular flow of asks and stewardship.