You Will Love This Year-End Appeal Idea

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA

The Thanksgiving holiday is an excellent time to extend gratitude to your donors, do you agree? Before mailing a single year-end fundraising appeal though, you can catch supporters off-guard with a positive Thanksgiving message full of gratitude.

Don’t ask for a thing— not volunteer support, not links to social media, not their time, and certainly not their money. Don’t refer to the upcoming year-end appeal or include a donor reply envelope. Don’t mention previous donations. Just tell supporters that, on this Thanksgiving holiday, your nonprofit is thankful for them and why.

A nice personal card is in order, or even a handwritten note to every major supporter, volunteer, and beneficiary. There are many card-oriented direct mail vendors; write us to get our recommendation on who we use.

Your corporate partners should receive a gift as well, before they’re inundated with year-end holiday gifts.

Of note, we think “thank you” phone calls are magical at Thanksgiving; see this piece on how to do it.

If you’re worried about losing revenue with this approach, the risk is real especially if you’re relying on that income to meet budget. The best approach is to realize that by treating your donors well now, you’ll enjoy their largest support in the year-end stretch, a time that’s the most competitive. This of course presumes that you have a robust year-end giving appeal process in place.

You can take advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday to bond with supporters by expressing gratitude. Express your sincere appreciation without a hint of expectation. Doing so will bolster supporters’ confidence in your agency and its vital mission.

Send us an email if you’d like our thoughts on the most effective way to send a Thanksgiving ‘thank-you’.

We welcome your comments about this post on the LAPA blog.

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