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Holiday Fundraising (Part 1 of 2) -- Major Donor Campaign Ideas

Updated: Apr 25

The holiday season is fast approaching. The stock market has been strong. Giving is at all-time highs. And more than 30% of all donations are given between Thanksgiving and December 31st. Now is the time to ask big! People are in good spirits. Their hearts are warm with gratitude, and they're inspired to help others and give back. Below is one of my favorite go-to holiday campaign tactics for major donors (more than $2,500). Use it and you're sure to find your stocking bulging with cash. Happy Holidays! 🎄 Tom~

Box with Money - Holiday Fundraising Ideas - Tom Iselin

Holiday Fundraising Ideas


Create a Specific Sponsorship Campaign If you want to raise a bunch of money in the next 60 days, create a campaign for your major donors that sponsors something specific and significant, but attainable. The more tangible the better. Perhaps you have a gym floor that needs refinishing. Maybe you need new kitchen equipment, or it's time for a new van. Whatever campaign you come up with, it's important you connect the donor's giving directly to the impact on the beneficiary. Meaning, don't ask the donor to give money to the organization so it can buy the van. Rather, ask the donor to help buy the van to provide travel for the KIDS you serve so they can participate in the programming you offer. Keep the copy centered on the donor and the kids. ProTips: Build your ask around this order of things: 1. Be specific. Have a specific financial goal and a specific deadline for the campaign. Have one specific thing you want donors to sponsor. Just one! Create some type of matching opportunity as part of the campaign. 2. Call. Call donors first and tell them that they will be receiving a LETTER in the mail outlining your holiday campaign. (No emails). If they don't answer, leave a short message about the campaign and what they can expect in the mail in the next week. If they answer, be BRIEF and thank them for being donors, explain the goals of the campaign and what they can expect in the mail. Then thank them again and get off the phone! 3. Send the letter. Keep the copy SHORT. Use 1 page for the overview, but do NOT use more than 1/2 of the space. Use 13 point font. Then include another page that provides an infographic showing no more than 5 giving levels. Make it simple, large, and easy to understand. Provide a way for the donor to make the gift - response card and envelope, web link, etc. In the letter, ask the donor to sponsor at a specific level (provide a dollar amount) you feel they would likely agree to based on their historical giving. If they gave $5,000 earlier in the year, then ask for something smaller, say $2,500. If they haven't given in 2021, ask for a sponsorship level 10-20% larger than their last year's gift, say $6,000. Donors are busy during the holidays. One of the biggest mistakes fundraisers make during end-of-year campaigns is sending out LONG letters, emails, and complicated infographics. Don't do it. Avoid writing content about what you do. Focus the content on WHY you do what you do . . . and without the donor, you couldn't do it. But with their support, they can help the beneficiaries experience X, or do X, or accomplish X. Clear and simple wins the day! 4. Reminders. If you haven't received a donor's gift within 2 weeks or so, send an email (not letter) reminder. Write the email as a "friendly reminders" about the campaign. Include how much money has been raised to date, the match opportunity, and the campaign deadline. Key: Include the ask amount you suggested in their letter. Attach the infographic. Provide an address where they can send a check, as well as web links for other payment options. Again, keep the email SHORT, no more than 3 short paragraphs. Every 2 weeks, send out similar reminder emails to all major donors who are part of the campaign (but who haven't donated). If you still haven't heard from a donor by the 21st of December, send out a friendly reminder on that day, and again on Dec 28th. In these last two emails, stress how close you are to the hitting your goal and how much their support would mean to the kids. Sending multiple reminder emails will only annoy donors if you make them annoying. Donor's will not feel annoyed if you craft polite emails that BRIEFLY explain the campaign details and demonstrate the benefit (impact) their gift will have on the kids or program.

Holiday Fundraising (Part 1 of 2) -- Major Donor Campaign Ideas Next Week: Part 2: A holiday campaign idea for small and mid-sized donors. Thinking of Strategic Planning, or Hosting a Board Retreat in 2022? Find out why Tom's retreat will exceed your expectations at a price you can afford, and why he's rated one of America's Top 10 Retreat Facilitators. To learn more, simply email and say "Take us Higher!" in the subject line and we'll set up a call to answer your questions.

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