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It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year: The Year-End Appeal

As December 31 approaches, most nonprofits are hoping for 30% of their annual gifts to come in through the door. If the 2019 #GivingTuesday and 2019 CyberMonday numbers are any indication, it should be a great month for the independent sector. Here are five things to keep in mind as the year-end approaches:

1) Ask early and often. It's hard to break through the clutter with online sales and direct mail and emails from other nonprofits. Remember to showcase your work and provide a sense of urgency to your appeals and don't hesitate to engage your list. Consider using a lightbox on your home page to capture web traffic and make that year end ask.

2) Use all social media channels to make those appeals resonate with donors. Provide badges, immediate thank yous, and opportunities for shares so your online donors can celebrate your wins.

3) Pick up the phone. For those key individual donors, don't forget the power of calling and connecting personally to those generous folks who support your cause. That personal touch goes along way.

4) Thank you. It's obvious but easy to forget in the holiday and year-end rush. Consider a video thank you, calls, and, of course, handwritten notes for that personal touch to say how much you appreciate your donors' support.

5) Celebrate your success. Reflect on your wins. If you missed your mark, figure out how and what to do differently next year. Most year end appeals online and offline begin in October. Do you need to get an earlier start? How was your segmenting? Did your appeal or match connect with donors? Start on next year's plan by capturing what worked and what didn't right away.

We'll be watching Inside Philanthropy, the Center for Effective Philanthropy, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy as results pour in for year-end appeals across the nonprofit sector. They'll be many lessons learned from 2019.

Here's to a successful year end for your nonprofit causes and to honoring what a wonderful opportunity it is to be in service to others!


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