By Sarah B Lange under Appeals, Fundraising, Individual Donors, Year-end giving on November 19, 2020

So, you just spent a lot of time, writing that appeal letter. Making sure you used emotionally-compelling content to connect with your donors hearts, unleashing more and higher gifts. You sent it to the printer, and now, it’s heading out to your donors’ mailboxes – or is about to (if you still need help with your appeal letter, let me know!).

I know that come holiday time, you’re probably bone-weary and looking forward to some down time between December 25 – January 1. However, your job’s not done yet! Remember – more than 30% of donations are made in December, and 12% of those are made during the last 3 days of the year!

To maximize the amount of revenue you raise through your year-end appeal, you’ve got to keep pushing ‘til the ball drops at midnight in Times Square! This is where a drip campaign comes in!

What is a drip campaign?

A drip campaign is a set of emails that will be sent out automatically, on a schedule. Most email platforms allow you to schedule these emails in advance, which means you can still get that R&R you so desperately need!

I help my clients set up a drip campaign that starts the second someone makes a donation. We set up their thank you page to let the donor know how grateful they are for their support. Three days later, the donor gets their 1st email. We usually focus this on a client success story, with the title “Here’s some of the amazing work you’re making possible!” We always include a photo (a picture says 1,000 words…).

One week after they receive their first email, a 2nd one arrives. In this one, we usually talk about the nature, scope and depth of the problem, focusing in on the painful impact it has on those who are affected. We include some sort of infographic, which summarizes data related to the problem. Then we thank them for being part of the solution.

The next week, they receive email #3, which is usually focused on the outcomes the organization has achieved to date, again positioning the donor as the hero, who’s helping make this transformation possible. And so on…

The drip campaign that I use with my clients consists of one email per week for 6 weeks. The content of each email can be whatever you want it to be – success stories, data, a message from your board chair, policy changes you’ve leveraged, etc. What matters is that you’re providing your donor with emotionally-compelling content and deepening their connection to those who are benefitting from your programs. Include a Call To Action (CTA) at the bottom of as many emails as makes sense. These CTAs should relate to the content of that particular email.

People want to help, but they often need direction. Do you need them to sign a petition? Complete a survey (this is a great way to learn more about them – just be sure to keep it short!)? Volunteer? Call their legislator(s)? Like your Facebook page? Give them small, “winnable” tasks that are easy to accomplish to help them connect more deeply, while engaging them immediately in the life of your organization.

You can track which donors are opening these emails and which aren’t. This will help you develop follow-up and cultivation strategies.

I often have my clients set up drip campaigns on social media to promote year-end giving, as well. Your campaign can feature daily posts across multiple social media channels. The schedule is up to you.

The good news is, these too can be scheduled ahead of time, too! Make sure to encourage people to share the posts with others, because 2/3 of your new donors don’t do research, they hear about you via friends, family members and co-workers – take advantage of this!

Only 10% of nonprofits make more than 5 donor “touches” as part of their year-end campaign. Less than 60% make only 1-3 “touches.” The remainder make ZERO touches. If you follow the formula above, you’ll be miles ahead of most of the pack and attract more donors.

More donors means more money!

And if you want to do more good, money matters!

I’ll be back on December 3rd with more tips on boosting year-end giving!

Meanwhile, if you’ve got questions, you can book a free, 15-minute Pick My Brain session by clicking here.


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