With the majority of U.S. households doing most of their giving between November and December 31st, this can be a great time for social justice organizations to expand and deepen their base of support. For organizations who don’t have much grassroots fundraising experience or development staff dedicated to fundraising, it’s difficult to know where to start or how to stand out in this competitive fundraising environment. We asked RoadMap fundraising consultant, Janet McIntyre to share a few simple tips on how social justice organizations can make the most of their end of the year fundraising.
1.) Celebrate Your Victories.
The end of the year is a great time for the social justice movement to take stock of our accomplishments and celebrate our victories. While there are still big battles to be won, we have much to celebrate in advancing the minimum wage, winning rights and benefits for domestic workers, shutting down toxic plants, achieving incremental but important protections for immigrants, especially young people, and fighting back against racial profiling and mass incarceration. By sharing your stories of impact, you can show donors how their support fuels social change.
2.) Build on Your Relationships.
Most likely you have been engaging your supporters all year around your campaigns. The end of the year is an opportunity to deepen those relationships. Here is how the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) of Los Angeles – a member of a cohort of National Domestic Workers Alliance affiliates that RoadMap is supporting – described how they are changing their approach to their end of the year fundraising strategy: “In the past our end of the year fundraising has been pretty limited to the traditional one-time end of the year mailing,” says Aquilina Soriano, executive director of PWC. “But this year we have put a lot of attention and time into cultivating and engaging our contacts and donors throughout the year. We see our end of the year fundraising as an opportunity to build on the relationship-building we have a been doing all year.”
3.) Tell Simple Stories That Inspire.
Easier said than done, right? The end of the year is a great time to share your victories about how your organization has made a difference. But sometimes we default to a laundry list of everything we did in the past year. This is especially true for organizations that may work across issues or run multiple campaigns or programs. But it may be more effective to focus on telling one story that is most impactful. If you won a victory to increase the minimum wage in your city, share a story of a member whose leadership helped make that victory and connect that story to the thousands of others who were and will be impacted as a result of your campaign.
4.) Ask More Than Once.
One ask isn’t enough to stand out and get your message across during this busy season. Plan on up to three coordinated asks, whether it’s direct mail or email. Be intentional about who does the ask each time. Has your audience heard from the executive director all year and would another voice stand out, like a member’s? How will you integrate asks into social media and your website?
5.) Run It Like a Campaign.
Take all your experience running campaigns and apply it to your year-end appeal. Even with limited time, you can develop a simple plan to outline your goals, action steps, accountability, and timeline. How will you communicate the progress of your appeal with those involved? How will you thank people, and bring them closer to your work in 2015? Your work isn’t done when you reach your goal. Fundraising is about relationship building and engagement, so in some ways your work is just beginning. Make sure that follow-ups are included in the plan.