As we enter the last quarter of the year, many organizations begin to think about their holiday fundraising campaigns. The holiday season, including the end of the year and all the associated holidays, is a big time of year for sending appeal letters and in the US, the January tax letters indicating the giving that had happened during the previous calendar year. Before you begin creating these mailings, try taking these three steps to ensure they’re reaching the right people and are cost effective for your organization.
Reactivating lapsed donors often requires a specific campaign tailored to their situation. At the end of the year, it’s good to find those individuals who haven’t responded to any campaigns and would now qualify as a “lapsed” donor and move them to inactive status. In this way, you can include them in any target campaigns, while saving postage and time by not sending them general appeal letters.
The flipside of this is to double check and ensure that you don’t have any donors marked as inactive or lapsed who have donated. Sometimes, it’s easy to add a gift and send a thank you letter, without unchecking the “inactive” box to make them active and part of your appeal campaigns once more. This general database maintenance can help keep donors energized, while ensuring you don’t spend time, resources, or money, mailing to those who are no longer interested.
Before you send out, what for many organizations, is the largest mailing of the year, make sure everyone’s addresses are as up to date as possible. One way to do this is NCOA Processing, which FundRaiser Software offers for our customers. This will send the addresses in your database through the National Change of Address database kept by the USPS and provide the full 9 digit zip code, as well as provide any updated addresses for individuals who have filed a change of address with the post office. If someone has moved and not provided any updated address, this information will be provided as well. With it, not only will your US addresses be compliant for bulk mailing (a possible cost savings), but if donors haven’t told you that they’ve moved, you may still have that information. This ensures that the highest percentage of letters possible will reach their destination.
With updated addresses and a current list of active donors, the third step would be to plan your campaigns. This involves writing the letters in FundRaiser, determining the donors you’ll include in your mailing and when you’ll send them.
By following these three steps, you will be ready for the busy holiday season.