Pregame:For nonprofits, the pregame is typically the year-end appeal. A strong year-and campaign often dictates what an organization will be able to do in the next year. If this is the only appeal you do, make sure it includes a mix of mail, social media, email communication and phone calls. You are competing against many other quality “teams” for your donor’s dollars.
The First Quarter: In the first quarter, your donors are still interested – similar to those who are just sitting down to watch the game and much-anticipated commercials. They have come to the party by making a gift at year end, and your organization is still fresh in their minds. Keep your organization front of mind and set up the coming year. Consider:
- Sharing goals for the coming year and how donor gifts will help achieve those goals
- Producing a calendar of events for the coming year
- Explaining any changes you anticipate for the year
The Second Quarter:The second quarter can go either way. If your team is still in the game, they will remain engaged. If your team is way behind, you may lose donor interest and they will find something else to do and support. So it is important to keep them in “the loop.”
- Maintain regular communication – once a month is recommended through e-newsletters or print if your budget allows.
- Use social media to share photos, organizational events, etc.
- Keep donors apprised of special events, newsworthy items, etc. through special communications
Halftime:This is a great time to showcase your talent. Your audit should be done and you can share success from the prior year.
- Create an annual report. It doesn’t have to list donors unless that is important to your constituents. It can be a simple year in review completed in-house and sent out electronically via email and social media channels.
- Send reports to donors who have endowed funds. Tell them how their gifts were used, the value of their fund and other relevant data.
The Third Quarter:The game is more than half over, but there is still work to be done. Update your donors on your goals. Don’t lose steam as you prepare for year-end. Continue regular communication like you did in the second quarter. If your donors continue stay engaged, this will help your year-end appeal success.
The Fourth Quarter:At this point, you don’t want to rely on a Hail Mary pass. Controlling the game is where you want to be. Make sure you are very strategic and thoughtful in planning and executing your annual appeal. A strong game plan is going into the fourth quarter will make a significant difference and carry your organization through the end of the year.
Post Game: Take time to celebrate, assess your program, and reflect on the good you do.