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Don't let inflation hold back your year-end campaign

Ah yes, year-end planning — arguably, the best time for nonprofits to solicit donations.

But there’s greater concern for successful results now than in recent years.

While overall donations in 2021 remained strong and as late as April 2022 most donors stated they’d continue giving, their confidence in the direction of the economy is decidedly down.

Not surprisingly, donor apprehension stems from a growing inflation rate, a looming recession, weaker stock market, and the like.

Aside from this mounting donor fear, nonprofit budgets just don’t go as far in an inflationary environment.

For example, while giving in 2021 increased by four percent in current dollars, it actually declined by 0.7 percent when adjusted for inflation.

As such, nonprofits need a good year-end giving plan now more than ever.

Unlike your for-profit counterparts, you likely can’t just raise your prices to ward off inflation. Nor can you change out money-losing product lines.

Nonetheless, avoid the temptation of cutting back or axing programs. Regardless of funding needs, your services remain important to the clients you serve.

Instead, become ultra-transparent with donors about rising inflationary costs.

They typically won’t want their donations to have less impact or serve fewer clients. Let them know what you need to keep your level of assistance effective and meaningful.

Moreover, don’t be afraid to play off of the large nonprofits who can weather inflation somewhat better. Be open about your small or mid-size organization having fewer resources for coping.

Share a strong, consistent message about the urgency of your cause.

Always important for fundraising but especially at 2022’s year-end, urgency with impact is the name of the game.

“Help us ensure no child goes hungry” is most certainly a worthwhile cause.

But consider the more urgent appeal: “For just $204, you can help us feed five hungry children for the next seven days!”

Which is more apt to promote immediate donor action?

In addition, the closer you get to stating the reason you exist, essentially your why, the more favorable response you’ll get from current and potential donors.

According to inspirational speaker Simon Sinek, successfully communicating “why” touches an inner passion that gets people to believe in you.

For example, Ethiopia’s Selamta Family Project places orphans with forever families and provides wraparound care. That’s what they do.

However, why they do it: “We believe every child deserves the love of a family.” This simple sentiment stirs compassion and a shared belief — precisely what’s needed for a donation.

Combine powerful storytelling with effective communication.

None can really argue against video as a commanding medium.

Our brains respond to visuals much faster than text, and as they say, pictures are worth a thousand words.

Again pointing to our client Selamta, this is but one of their videos that communicates in less than three minutes an authentic look at their impact:

Video can become a vital part of your website and social media channels, readily connecting donors and visitors with your mission.

And of course, email is an excellent way to distribute not only your videos but other compelling content for year-end appeal power.

That’s because email accounts for about one-third of all online revenue for nonprofits. And one-third of that occurs in December alone.

When telling your story through email, it’s a good idea to know what works best, and frankly, what doesn’t work at all.

So check out our research in CauseMic’s 2022 Email Impact Guide for Nonprofits for ways to ensure your year-end email campaign is all it can be.

It features the November-December email efforts and results of 204 nonprofits, some of whom we’re pretty sure wished they’d had this Guide to begin with!

When communicating your year-end ask, your current donors are key.

While attracting new donors is important, current donors are generally your best source of increased revenue.

You know who they are, how to get a hold of them, and importantly, you don’t have to persuade them to support your cause.

As such, retaining existing donors is much less expensive than acquiring new ones. So combine a heartfelt “Thank You!” with your ask to ensure they feel appreciated and stick with you.

For those who give occasionally, invite them to set their gifts to “monthly.” (If your donation page doesn’t support recurring giving, modify it now to prevent more needless revenue loss!)

And for already recurring donors, don’t be shy about asking for an increase to account for current inflation.

Ten percent should do the trick, but give an example of how little of an increase it actually is. For example, “If your gift is $20, just a slight bump to $22 can make a world of difference!”

Consider using audience segmentation to be as specific as possible with your ask (along with personalized communication, of course!).

Ensure you take advantage of key dates during your November-December campaign.

November 29th, 2022, is Giving Tuesday, a central target for your year-end messaging.

Simply put, Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 to encourage people worldwide to do good. Your year-end campaign gives folks the opportunity to do just that by way of special giving.

Perhaps that means occasional givers convert to recurring, recurring donors give more per month, or maybe you ask all supporters for a one-time bonus donation.

Whatever special means to you for your donor base, now’s the time to go for it.

December 30th or 31st can also see prominent giving spikes, which various sources indicate can be even more significant than Giving Tuesday, especially for larger gifts.

It’s an excellent time for putting your customer relationship management (CRM) platform to good use, finding those who previously gave large gifts but have yet to do so this year.

While the latter three giving days are the most prominent, increased giving tends to flow from the end of November through all of December.

So don’t be stingy with your communications. Be prepared with emails, videos, social posts, events, and so on, leading up to the busiest donation days of the year.

And let your donors know what you’ve accomplished, all because of them!

Is your organization optimized for donations?

While your team may be ready and willing to grab giving by the horns, is your technology able to give a big assist?

For example, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the new standard for tracking key performance indicators and helping determine an ad campaign’s return on investment.

Moreover, it does away with privacy-invading third-party cookies.

Even though Google has delayed phasing out GA4’s predecessor until 2024, transition is inevitable. Plus it’s got lots of good things to offer.

So embracing GA4 sooner rather than later is a smart play.

Even smarter, choose CauseMic to help with all matters fundraising. We have no doubt that we can help you maximize revenue during your year-end campaign.

For example, to help our client DigDeep bring fresh, clean water to those in need, we deployed personalized, impactful messaging to segmented audiences.

By communicating across multiple channels like email and text, we increased DigDeep’s year-over-year revenue for Giving Tuesday by 273% and for December 31st by 324%.

We’re more than happy to provide you with a complimentary, no-obligation audit of your donation page ahead of the year-end sprint.

Since a startling 83% of donation page visitors leave without ever making a gift, you may want to know if changes can better your odds. Request a free audit here!

Year-end giving in 2022 is more critical than ever. But with proper planning and the right messaging, 2023 will look a lot brighter!