Launching a successful appeal requires a lot of careful preparation. You can streamline things for yourself, and for your donors, by incorporating these four suggestions into your appeal plan.
As part of your appeal preparations, decide what you’ll need to report on. Then, work backwards to determine how you’ll code gift and constituent records to easily create those reports. For example, you’ll likely need to report on the amount raised by the appeal. To do that accurately, you’ll need to code gift records consistently so you can find all the gifts made in response to this particular appeal. If you’ll need to report on how many lapsed donors made a gift to the appeal, you may want to create an appeal segment just for lapsed donors so you can see at a glance how much was raised by these constituents.
Your appeal letter likely tells a story that engages the reader and inspires them to support your organization. Rather than sending your usual thank you letter, craft an acknowledgment letter for your appeal donors that continues that story or theme. If you use Little Green Light, you can set your new acknowledgment letter as the default acknowledgment template for your appeal so it’s automatically assigned as the acknowledgment template for gifts coded to the appeal. If you’ve segmented your appeal, you can even create a specific acknowledgment letter template for each segment; for example, one for first-time donors, one for board members, and one for lapsed donors. Your donors will appreciate the added personalization.
Your appeal letter, donation page on your website, and remittance envelope need to feel cohesive to your donors. The look and feel of each should be similar and in keeping with your organization’s branding. If your appeal letter includes suggested donation amounts (for example, $35 dollars will provide art supplies for one kindergartner), confirm that those amounts are listed as options on your donation page and remittance envelope.
Always schedule ample time for reporting. Your work plan likely includes plenty of time for preparing for your appeal, and it’s equally important to allow time for the post-appeal work. Note on your calendar when your reports will be due, and spend time in advance practicing running the reports you’ll need. It’s crucial that you review them carefully to make sure the reports give you what you need. A good rule of thumb is to practice running your reports a minimum of a week before they’re due; with this approach, you’ll have plenty of time to tweak them if you need to.
If you’re looking for more ideas on how to effectively manage and streamline a successful appeal, watch our training webinar on using Little Green Light to manage your appeal solicitations, or check out our free ebook, Six Steps to a Successful Appeal.
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