Your school’s holiday and year-end advancement campaign should be in full swing as the calendar inches towards 2019. This is a crucial period, as an average of 40% of charitable donations come each December. That's why schools like yours know they need to achieve the best results they can this time of the year.
But just because you’ve launched your year-end advancement campaign or initiatives, it doesn’t mean it’s too late to make adjustments. With the right data in front of you, you’ll be able to identify tactics that can still be optimized. Here are some to take a look at:
Your year-end advancement campaign likely features several communication channels like direct mail, email and social media. How your supporters act when you reach them is a major driver of campaign success. You may have internal expectations for your success rate on each channel. Or, you may be using higher education industry rules-of-thumb to guide you.
So what can you do if the response rates aren’t meeting your targets? You can try freshening up your copy and delivering your message in new ways. For example, you may have sent appeals that focused on statistics. Then, it may be more effective to share emotion with quotes from professors and alumni or images from campus. You may also want to improve your segmentation. Some groups, based on age, occupation, or a whole host of other factors, may respond better to different outreach channels or to specific content types within your messages.
With education at stake, advancement departments are rarely satisfied with their results, and development professionals are always looking to improve. That’s why growth rates in overall revenue and average donation amounts are valued so highly when analyzing a year-end campaign.
If you want to boost growth rates, one tactic could be increasing the suggested gift amounts on your donation forms. You can choose to raise each of the gift levels, or just the lowest or highest options. Of course, you should have an ‘other’ choice available if none of the suggestions suit your donor.
Read More: Learn about the powerful, custom donation forms you can build with Causeview Impact Designer.
If you’re satisfied with the overall number of donors you're converting, you can also create a follow-up ask to those who gave recently. Those are the individuals you know are already engaged, and asking them to top-up their donation to reach a specific result can be an effective approach to improve the campaign’s overall results.
One-time vs. recurring donations
You may be on pace to reach several of your advancement campaign targets, but you should make sure you aren’t forgetting long-run objectives. Aiming for a proportion of the donations to be recurring will help set your organization up to take on larger projects going forward.
If the vast majority of your gifts have been one-time contributions, a simple tweak might be updating your messaging to emphasize the long-term projects you plan to take on. You can also reach out to those who have already made one-time gifts and ask them to set up a monthly donation moving forward by highlighting the difference the recurring contributions will make to your mission.
What if your campaign is hitting your recurring donation targets, but still falling short of overall goals? Don’t be afraid to ask your existing monthly donors for a 13th gift. This strategy involves asking your recurring donors to make one more contribution at year-end. Your recurring supporters are typically your most passionate, so if you can create a compelling ask tied to meaningful results, you have a high chance of getting converting an additional gift.
Increase alumni involvement in your year-end advancement campaign
If you’re aiming to boost participation among alumni in your year-end initiatives, we have a resource to help! Our free LinkedIn Message Templates will help you engage your alumni on the most beneficial social network, and help you drive year-end results.