Plan Ahead to Follow-Up

imageWith the holidays ahead and the New Year just around the corner, now is a great time to plan out how you will follow up on your year-end appeal.

Have a donor-data system in place before responses begin to arrive. Create a hierarchy of follow-up action steps for various giving levels: hand-written thank you notes, personal phone calls, tailored gifts of recognition, etc.

Here are more strategies for using year-end appeals to enhance your database and deepen donor relationships:

Reach out to lapsed donors

Not only will your appeal uncover engaged donors, but it will reveal those who have lapsed. Check giving against past lists to see who gave in prior years, but not in the last year. Maybe they just got busy or had extenuating circumstances. Take that list, and make contact.

Welcome new donors

Reach out to new donors with an invitation for an upcoming event or welcome them on social media. Make it a special and meaningful experience to be part of your “nonprofit family.”

Send a special thank you to loyal donors

Make sure to keep your acknowledgements fresh and genuine. Share an inspiring client story. Remind donors how important they are to all the people served year in and year out.

Year-end appeals have the potential to accomplish more than raising money. With the right systems in place, they can be used to update data and cultivate connections with new and long-time donors.

Don’t wait to get a plan after the appeal responses start coming in at the first of the year. Have everything quantified, organization and ready to roll out for a truly, Happy New Year.

Jason Wood, Senior Vice President,

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