For many of us, the end of the year means busting out the ugly sweater that’s been collecting mothballs in the closet for the past 11 months, fighting extra crowds at Target and avoiding too-sensitive topics with friends, family and co-workers at holiday gatherings. But for those in the nonprofit world, the end of the year also means it’s time to make one last push for funds for the cause.
We design, print and mail year-end appeals every year, and we know the pressure facing nonprofit pros. We recommend you focus on these four things for appeals that, well...appeal.
We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but two weeks before the end of the year is probably not enough time to execute a year-end appeal. The printing and mailing alone will take 5–7 business days, and the writing and design may take much longer. Start thinking about your end of year marketing push before the first snow hits to maximize your impact. (And check out more great tips from our friends at Nonprofit Hub.)
For ultimate ROI, start with a good mailing list. We can add to your list, refine it or even purchase a new list entirely, but mailing to those who have supported you by giving time or money throughout the year will yield the best results.
An effective appeal is one that catches the recipient’s eye. Whether you need an entire design concepted and created or simply need your existing art prepped for the presses, we’ve been playing the direct mail game long enough to know what makes a piece a slam dunk. Check out some of the excellent appeals we’ve printed this year:
Lincoln Public Schools Foundation's envelope stands out with a bright handprint.
The creative format of Nebraska Children and Families Foundation's appeal begs to be opened.
Tabitha's year-end appeal isn't just a letter, it's also a holiday card.
Lincoln Community Foundation sent its appeal in a classy, clear envelope. The clean black and white design is timeless, and the appeal gives recipients options for giving online or via mail.
Make your ask more impactful by personalizing it. With variable data printing, you can mention your recipient by name and even provide ask amounts based on their past giving. (For example, if Susie Q gave $10 earlier this year, ask if she’d be willing to chip in another $5, $10 or up her donation to $20.) Finally, make it easy for people to give whether they’ve gone digital or are a little more old-school by providing a return envelope and card as well as a link to donate online. (Bonus points for a custom landing page.)
With these tips in mind, go forth and bring it in 2018! (And if you need help, don’t be a stranger.)