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Donors

4 Tips to Optimize Your Giving Day

Giving days and donor challenges have become increasingly popular for organizations to implement into their fundraising strategy. It’s vital to the success of your giving day or challenge that all of your communications stand out – whether that be through direct mail, email, social media, or any other channel. Giving days are a great way to engage donors, raise money, and create awareness about your organization and the impact of philanthropy. A giving day takes a lot of time, strategy, and preparation to execute it effectively. Optimize your giving day with 4 tips to take your giving day to the next level.

Let’s review 4 tips to optimize your giving day strategy:

PLANNING: A static element for each organization that has reached success is planning. Planning in advance will help your organization reach its goals. In your planning, some of the components you might want to consider are:

  • Benchmarking and how the goals of the giving day align with the organization’s goals
  • Internal support from your senior leadership
  • Leadership donors who might be interested in helping or participating
  • A network of supporters and advocates to help with outreach before and during the giving day on their social channels through word-of-mouth
  • External solution providers to help with various components
  • A timeline of initiatives
  • Promotional messages and through which channels you plan on executing

There are a lot of moving parts to a giving day and having strong advocates, leadership, and organizers convening to plan the before, during, and after initiatives is critical to the success of the giving day and beyond.

BRANDING: Branding your giving day makes it easier to spread the word about the day and distinguish it from other organizational giving initiatives. To successfully brand your giving day, you need to create a name and brand for your giving day that aligns with your organization’s mission. For example, you might want to focus on…

  • A special holiday – Pi Day: 3.14 (March 14th)
  • An athletics challenge – March Madness: Organization Name Madness
  • A new name for giving day – Rally Day, Founder’s Day, Drive for 125
  • Your organization’s founding year – 1810: 1,810 donors in 1,810 minutes

Depending on what your organization’s mission is and why you’re holding the giving day, you can create a name and then a brand. Many organizations create a brand for their giving day while staying within their organization’s overall branding. However, a logo is developed along with messaging, graphics and other branding elements to make a lasting impression when spreading the word.

DIRECT MAIL: When you have an event, you likely send a save-the-date or invitation, inviting someone to attend that event. This is no different than what should happen with your giving day. It’s important to get the word out through different channels so your donors know everything they need to know about the day. Answers to these commonly asked questions should likely be answered through the channels your organization plans on using:

  • What is a giving day?
  • When is the giving day?
  • What should I expect?
  • Who is involved?
  • How do I get involved?
  • Why is this being held?

Similar to pre-giving day communications, don’t forget about post-giving day communications. You want to be sure that you follow up with your donors and let them know about the results of the giving day, in addition to thanking them for their participation.

Remember, know your audience and how they like to receive information. Some of your potential donors might want something tangible to remember what they need to do for the giving day or what their impact was following the day, whereas others might prefer electronic communications leading up to and following the event.

EXTERNAL PARTNERS: It’s okay if you feel overwhelmed planning a giving day – maybe you’re doing it all by yourself, or maybe you manage a team and delegate tasks. Whatever the case may be, it’s okay to look for external partners to help you execute your giving day. There are resources that can help with your communications and execution.

BCG Connect knows how busy you are and all of the tasks you have to prioritize to optimize your giving day. That’s why we make your job easier by being a reliable partner so you can focus on those priority tasks, while we focus on our expertise providing you with creative direct marketing solutions. Connect with us to learn how we can help you identify, acquire, and retain your donors!

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Ashley Worrell
Calendar Year-End

Calendar Year-End Prep: The 4 C’s of Direct Mail Appeals

You may be familiar with the 4 P’s of Marketing (or in some cases, the 7 P’s of Marketing), but have you heard of the 4 C’s of Direct Mail Appeals? In this day in age, acronyms and slogans get created and tossed around everywhere, so let’s break down what BCG Connect’s 4 C’s of direct mail appeals are. The 4 C’s are used to describe what your calendar year-end direct mail appeal (and every other appeal for that matter) should aim to be, which is: Creative, Clear, Compelling, and Concise.

Calendar year-end fundraising mail will be flocking mailboxes all over the world. From year-end appeals, to renewal appeals, to acquisition mailings, it’s critical to have your appeal stand out in that crowded mailbox.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the 4 C’s of direct mail appeals to improve the effectiveness of your calendar year-end appeal:

CREATIVE: What makes your organization unique? Why should someone donate to your organization over a different organization? Having creative elements makes your message appealing and draws the recipient in. Whether it is a standard letter or a self-mailer, it’s key to have creative elements to it. What defines the creative elements that are in the appeal? Well, you should first identify and focus on your target audience(s) and know as much as possible about those people – this helps with the creative process of developing a piece that connects, communicates, and engages each segment.

CLEAR: It’s important to be clear. That’s a very general statement, so being “clear” has been broken down into three categories:

  • Clear with whom you are talking to: is your direct mail appeal segmented? Do you have variable data? Have you personalized your messaging based on who you are talking to? Being clear with whom you are talking to is so important in your direct mail appeal because you need to connect with each recipient to inspire action.
  • Clear with what you are saying: make sure every sentence that is on your direct mail appeal brings value to the piece. If you took a sentence out, would the piece still make sense? Be clear with what you are saying so the recipient understands what you are telling him/her.
  • Clear with what you want the recipient to do: a call-to-action needs to be prominent, bold, and easy to understand. Having multiple call-to-actions dilutes the main, most important goal of the piece, which should be what the call-to-action is: what do you want the recipient to do when they are done reading the piece? Are you wondering if your call-to-action is distinguishable? Take a quick glance at your appeal – if the call-to-action jumps out at you, great! If it’s difficult to figure out what you’re supposed to do, you might want to go back and review it to make sure the recipient knows what action he/she should take after reading it. 

COMPELLING: What is your story? How do you tell your story about the impact that gifts make? How do you deliver that story? Storytelling is vital to developing a compelling appeal. To tell your story, it helps to know what your donors want and why they want it. It also helps to take a step back and think from your donors’ point-of-view. Perhaps, you could think, “If I were Donor A, what would I want to read on a direct mail piece? If I were Donor B, would I want to read the same thing as Donor A?” You must make your recipient believe your story and feel as though they are an influential character in that story so they are motivated to do whatever your call-to-action is.

CONCISE: Sometimes, to get a point across, people feel as though they need to explain every minute detail. However, less can be more for a direct mail piece. A great way of determining if you are being concise is to review your copy and figure out if every sentence is important to support the point you are trying to get across, or if it’s fluff that you can remove. Get straight to the point when it is appropriate and include support when it is necessary.

Calendar year-end is an ample opportunity to reach out to your donor base with a creative, clear, compelling, and concise appeal that stands out in a crowded mailbox. How do you get an appeal to stand out? BCG Connect’s creative group can handle all of that for you!

BCG Connect has been successful in partnering with our clients to create a personalized, custom approach to their direct marketing programs, targeting the right people, with an effective message, to reach their prospective and current donors. Connect with us to learn how we can help you identify, acquire, and retain your donors!

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BCG Staff Writer