Communication is critical to the sustenance of any business venture, which is also true for fundraisers. Fundraisers armed with this fact have gone on to do great exploits, appealing to donors across boards. There is certainly much to gain from reaching out to donors consistently and effectively.
One easy way fundraisers have explored to reach out to donors is through giving letters. That said, the end of the year registers as a period you can’t afford to miss out on writing a letter to your donors. In essence, you must take the end-of-the-year giving letter to heart as a fundraiser.
What Does An End-Of-The-Year Giving Letter Really Mean?
An end-of-the-year – or year-end – giving letter is primarily used to appeal for funds as the year draws to a close. In other words, it is written during the Giving Season. Many non-profits have taken massive advantage of it to bring their annual fundraising activity to a positive close. Viewing it from a broader perspective, the year-end giving letter is perfect for sustaining the tempo of a fundraising drive. More often than not, this letter is addressed to donors with whom fundraisers already have a connection. The year-end giving letter presents another viable means through which you can enhance your engagement with donors. Hence, you should be mindful of re-echoing your organizational mission as you envisage raking in increased returns.
As per the means of transmission, the year-end giving letter can be sent through an online or offline medium. You can consider using email, postcards, or direct mail, but you should pay heed to the audience while choosing a particular means. For instance, while email may appeal better to Gen Z, those in the baby boomers’ category usually relish receiving letters through direct mail. Owing to this, you may need to segment your donors’ list as you prepare the letter.
How To Write An End-Of-The-Year Giving Letter
A year-end giving letter should not flow like some regular or generic writing. You don’t go, “We are writing to solicit funds for some cause” – cut that out! You have to learn to start by connecting the emotional dots to capture the attention of your audience. Let’s consider this: “Melanie and her two kids are caught up in the recent floods in Jacksonville. Their property and means of livelihood have been adversely affected by the disaster. With little hope to cling unto, she searched online to find where and how She could get some help and found us”.
You would have opened a portal in the mind of the reader, who is now interested in what eventually happened to Melanie and her kids. You also give the readers – assuming they are new (donor) prospects – an insight into what your organization stands for. Melanie’s situation is probably not the only one you have had to attend to; hence you should relate the big picture. You do this by providing stats about how you have been able to help people gain some ground again after experiencing devastation. You can give the reader an idea of how the request for relief has increased and also talk about your present capacity.
There are a couple of things you have to note while writing a year-end giving letter. For one, the communication has to be clear and straight to the point. You should make it personal and conversational to increase the level of engagement. Also, you can ride on the tide of gratitude by appreciating your donors. It has been observed that donors will likely give again if they are appreciated.
To What End?
The end goal of writing the year-end giving letter is to seek support, so a call to action must be included. You can easily insert a clickable link in your year-end fundraising campaign letter sent through email. Optionally, you can share your text-to-donate details in the letter or attach a donation form. Your call to action should be in sync with the core message of the letter. Here is a good example: “[xxx – your non-profit’s name] has been able to provide for Melanie’s immediate needs and those of a few others, but the needs are increasing. That we have been able to meet these needs is only down to the backing of devoted donors like you. We, therefore, kindly request that you donate to our mission to bring help to those in need in this season of love”.
Best Time To Write An End-Of-The-Year Giving Letter
The very last day – December 31st – of the year reportedly sees the highest giving surge. The rise in the daily giving average is over ten times more than any other day of the year. That said, massive giving activities are recorded throughout December as both young and old jump on the (charity) trend. So, invariably, any day in December could register as the right time to write a year-end giving letter. But then, that stats show December to be a fruitful one for fundraisers doesn’t make it necessarily the best time to put the letter through. And in case you don’t know, competition is high during this period as many non-profits seek to gain the attention of donors. You can have your letter sent out as early as the second week of November and follow it through with reminders.
This is where you will find a multi-level communication framework valuable. With your letter sent, you can use email, postcards, or even phone calls to remind donors about your fundraising appeal at various intervals. You can send a reminder around the end of November, the first week of December, and one close to December 30th. Again, you can look to create social media ads to keep your year-end fundraising campaign in the face of donors.
Any intentional non-profit organization cannot undermine the significance of an end-of-the-year giving letter. It is one medium of communication that is worth committing some time to work on. But beyond writing, you should also be strategic about sending out the letter and reminders to prospective donors.