Fundraising,  Nonprofits

How Often to Send Donation Requests

how-often-should-send-donation-lettersMany organizations struggle with how often they should send out donation requests and appeal letters. The answer is simple — OFTEN! We wish we could tell you there is some magic formula, but unfortunately, there isn’t.

Don’t despair! We have advice to help you define what “OFTEN” means to your organization.

There is a fine line between sending too many requests and not asking enough. If you ask too often, your donors will get burnt out yet by not asking often enough, you risk your donors forgetting about you.

Campaign Scheduling Basics. Most organizations run two or three fundraising campaigns annually. Planning one during your “cause” month is a no-brainer. The other(s) should be at least a few months apart.

Typical campaigns run for approximately 30 days. During that time, it is okay to ask for donations multiple times, using a variety of methods. Standard protocol includes sending a direct mail letter once, at the start of the campaign and following it up with a weekly email. Posting 2-3 times a week on social media will also increase the visibility of your campaign and result in greater donations.

December! Donation requests are at an all time HIGH during December. Mailboxes and inboxes are overflowing with requests as organizations push to meet year end goals. If you can avoid sending an appeal request in December, do! If it is inevitable, an online campaign will likely yield you better results. Network for Good reported that more than 22% of donations received during the month of December occurred during the last two days of the month!

Don’t just ask for help, connect with your donors! The key is connecting with your donors and not just asking them for their help. Communicating quarterly is a good starting point. This will make them feel included and part of your organization.

Consider a quarterly newsletter! Sharing stories about your organization is a great way to let your donors know what is happening at your organization and portray the direct impact their donation has. There is no better way to foster a community! It is not only acceptable to include a call for donations within the newsletter, but recommended. By incorporating your donation appeal within other communication will make your request seem less random and potentially result in more responses.

Determining what works for YOU! Every organization is different. What works for one organization may not work for another. The best way to determine what works for you is evaluating the response rate of what you are doing. Are you seeing an uptick in donations following the mailing of your newsletter or an email request? If so, then keep sending them. If not, then dial back their frequency.

If something is working for you — keep it up! If it isn’t, don’t get discouraged, try something new – OFTEN!


One Comment

  • Bella

    Thank you for writing this post. We are a new non-profit (2 years old) and are learning as we go. This has proven to be very useful and has opened doors for ways in keeping in touch with our donors that are not on social media. Will share this blog with others! Sincerely, http://www.IrenesPromCloset.com Irene’s prom Closet team

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