The Best of the Last: Year-End Fundraising Emails

Happy new year to all of you! I hope it’s a wonderful one for you. But first, please take a moment to look back with me to last week.

I’m someone who uses the past as core data in planning the future. So I was watching closely as all the end-of-year fundraising emails flowed into my in-box last week. And I’m sorry to say that most of them just didn’t make the grade.

However, fundraising asks from two organizations–the Center for Media and Democracy (CCTV) and the Clinton Foundation–stood far above the rest. Both organizations hit me with two emails last week, each one of which featured a clear ask, a definitive motivation to give before year end plus a bit of pizazz. Here are the subject lines that drew me in:

  • Center for Media and Democracy (CCTV)
    • Dec. 28: Thanks for a Great Year from CCTV – Please Consider Giving, From: Lauren-Glenn Davitian (Executive Director)
    • Dec. 31: Ring in 2011 with a Gift to Free Speech, From: Lauren-Glenn Davitian (Executive Director)
  • Clinton Foundation
    • Dec. 30: I will match your gift to improve lives around the world, From: President Clinton, Clinton Foundation
    • Dec. 31: Hours left to have your gift matched by President Clinton, From: Laura Graham, Clinton Foundation (COO)

The fact that the Clinton Foundation excels in communications all around is no surprise. But I’m particularly impressed by the marketing savvy of the Center, a small organization fueled by lots of passion and imagination. Great work!

It’s been confirmed time and time again that a huge amount of giving happens in the last two days of the year. So why wasn’t every organization I’ve ever given to, signed a petition with or subscribed to their email list in touch with me to give, more than once? And why did two organizations who did reach out to me use their emails to announce January 2011 events, without even a whisper of an ask? It will be so much harder today, and for the next several months.

You can fix that next December by finalizing your December 2011 fundraising strategy in late Summer. Focus on what prospects are considering at year end (reflecting back, starting new, what’s most important to them, their taxes) and focus there, and reach them more than once. A thank you is always welcome and repetition, when done right, works well!

What are your recommendations for effective year-end fundraising campaigns?

P.S. Learn how to strengthen your nonprofit’s messaging with the all-new Nonprofit Tagline Database and 2011 Tagline Report.

Nancy Schwartz in Fundraising: Innovations & Research | 7 comments
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