Appeals / Annual Funds

The Second Year-End Appeal Letter

October 19, 2017 | Laurence A. Pagnoni

The second year-end appeal letter is a great strategy to secure donations from donors who have not yet responded to the first year-end appeal letter. The second letter typically goes out sometime between the first week of December and the third week of December. It is critical that you update your database so that donors who responded to your first appeal letter aren’t re-solicited.

It’s always a good idea to freshen up your second year-end letter with new highlights and, of course, make any adjustments necessary based on the changing nature of your cause. If you offer, say, a special holiday meal at Thanksgiving or Christmas, you’ll want to mention those at their appropriate times.
Once you send your year-end appeal letter out and 30 days have elapsed without a response, you should supplement it with a “Haven’t Heard From You, May We?” postcard. This step alone can increase your donations by as much as 10 percent. The postcard and appeal letter should contain the website link where the appeal is posted, and ask the donor to go there to learn more and donate.

When planning your year-end drive, think about what you have to celebrate: amazing client outcomes, new funding, new board members, a magical “success” story, news about your cause, and so forth. In conveying this news, you want to make the link between these events and donor-giving so that your donors feel good about giving to you. While letting them know how much you’ve accomplished, let them also know how much more there is to do and what that will cost.

Laurence A. Pagnoni

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