Quite smugly, I admit, I am reporting that this year I project managed my organisations most successful Christmas appeal of all time. And (again smugly) I report that money is still coming in and currently we have raised more than triple our original target.
Was it a ground-breakingly original campaign? No.
Did we get hundreds of new donors? No.
Was it more expensive and higher quality than previous appeals? No.
Was it a hugely different format to previous appeals? No.
So how, you may be wondering, did it become such a successful campaign?
The answer, quite simply is; Cultivation and engagement throughout the year. Over the last two years I have taken our donors and members from being, un-cultivated and disengaged to informed, engaged and supportive!
I strongly believe that the success of this Christmas appeal can be accredited to taking measures to really nurture donor relationships throughout the year.
How did I do this? Well, here is a list;
- Hand-writing thank you letters to ALL donors (no matter the size of gift)
- Reporting back to donors after the appeal to tell them what their money made possible
- Inviting donors to non-ask events, which allow them to find out more about our work without feeling the pressure to give
- Personalising comms!
- Training the CEO in thank-you phone calls and ensuring time is set aside to call all major donors promptly after gifts are made
- Training Trustees on what it means to be ‘involved in fundraising’ and ensuring these actions are carried out
- Remembering that donors are people and they appreciate being treated like friends, not ATMs
If you have a fundraising resolution this year, make it cultivation, because cultivation and engagement pay off with long-term, loyal donors.