For charities everywhere Christmas is the time for giving and not surprisingly, December is one of the most important months in the fundraising calendar.
But this year will be a Christmas like no other. So, in these unprecedented times, where should you focus your Christmas fundraising efforts?
- Say thank you: With the pandemic still raging, the need to thank your donors, funders and volunteers has never been more important. Some charities have replaced this year’s Christmas fundraising appeal with messages of thanks to supporters. Not only did this strengthen the donor relationship, it also enabled charities to maintain or even exceed fundraising targets. Will your CEO send some personalised Christmas cards this year? How much time will you invest in thank you calls and messages? A Christmas video message can inspire and update, whilst also building loyalty and spreading the word.
- Strengthen your trust fundraising: For many Trust Fundraisers, December is going to be quiet on the application-writing front. Use this time to review the evidence base for your work and the way you present your organisation and services to prospective funders. Personal stories, visual content, video footage and endorsements from commissioners, donors, funders and partners can all add weight to your applications. So use this time to add new materials to your portfolio. And don’t forget to use social media and the good old-fashioned telephone to thank those who have stood with you during these difficult times.
- Look at legacies: The legacy fundraising market has typically been dominated by the larger charities. This is now changing, with many smaller charities now investing time and resources into legacy fundraising. A recent report, Strengthening Charities’ Resilience with Legacies, which was co-authored by four major charity legacy organisations, predicts a significant rise in the value of gifts from wills over the next decade. You don’t need a huge budget to invest in legacy fundraising and, if your charity hasn’t started a legacy fundraising programme, now really is the time to do this.
- Take a look at your credentials: The outcomes your work achieves are going to be more important than ever in 2021 and beyond. The Barriers to Giving report provides some fascinating insights into major donor giving, highlighting the need for charities to evidence impact in two areas: service delivery and financial management.
- Stay positive: Although it might feel that way, it’s not all doom and gloom. CAF’s special report on Covid-19 and UK giving shows that giving in the period March to October 2020 increased significantly compared to previous years. Many donors are still giving – and some are giving at higher levels than ever before. The pandemic has brought some positive change; small charities embracing digital technology, more flexible grant-making practices, charities working together to support their communities and more coverage of the voluntary sector in the national media.
With so many uncertainties, fundraising planning for 2021 is going to be a challenge for voluntary organisations large and small. But with careful donor stewardship, a clear focus on your priorities, a dose of realism and some positive thinking, you have every chance of navigating the storm – and even coming out stronger than ever before. Good luck!