In case you missed it, or didn't get your questions answered, we're posting some of the leftover questions and their associated answers from last week's webinar "5 reasons you need a year-end campaign" with Tony Beall.
Question: When is the ideal time to send end of year letters (for a year-end annual giving campaign)?
Tony: I suggest starting your e-campaign after Halloween and any direct/snail mail occur immediately after Thanksgiving.
What aspects of an email appeal should be variable? And by what characteristic should I segment my list?
Tony: There's no cookie cutter answer to this great question. The varying aspects of my appeals are generally driven by list segmentation. Honing my message so that it resonates with the targeted audience. Simply said, if my segmentation is based on age/generation, then I would alter the images used and edit, or add, text based on the age/generation grouping. Another variable may be an appeal that tells a personal impact story versus an appeal that is more about the numbers served, outcomes, financials of the organization.
Do you find Giving Tuesday conflicts with a year-end annual appeal?
Tony: No, I don't. I prefer to look at Giving Tuesday as another tool in aiding me in being successful meeting my year-end campaign goals.
Do you put an ask amount in an appeal or leave it open for donor discretion? Do you consider giving promos as an incentive to give on Giving Tuesday? i.e. if you donate, you'll be entered to win X?
Tony: I do not put amounts in the actual eblast appeal. Although when they "click" to make a donation the donation page may have specific recommended levels of giving. I generally attribute specific giving amounts to a specific service/program. For example: $50.00 donation - Provide 30 days of after school programming for one child ages 3-9. I always offer specific giving levels on direct mail pieces with the same "this is what is provides/does" philosophy. I am not a fan of promos, but realize that it needs to occur in some markets in order for consumers to respond. Of course, we hope the incentives will be items donated by local businesses (gift cards, dinner for two, salon services, etc).
It seems that direct mailing and emails target the Baby Boomers and beyond. What specific strategies can you suggest to best target the Gen X, Gen Y, and Millennials without turning them off?
Tony: I'm sure however I answered this during the webinar was awesome! Just kidding! The best strategy is to use varying social media outlets and to generate more content that is visually compelling. I recommend conducting a focus group in your area and specifically asking the Gen X, Gen Y, and Millennials in your community what resonates with them.
We host an event the week before Thanksgiving, does this limit the potential impact of a year-end campaign? How can we utilize both the event and year-end campaign without having them in competition with one another?
Tony: I do not think the event will have a negative impact. You just need to consider the event when determining your year-end campaign goals. I would ensure however that any year-end ask to event attendees have a different message that acknowledges their attendance/support.
Are you saying we need to write a note on our mailing of 2500+ pieces?
Tony: Yes & No! There have been times when I've had a group of 5-6 volunteers come in and assist me in adding a hand written note/message. Most of the time it's simply "Thank You!" or "Happy Holidays!" or "We appreciate you!". I always make sure there is a handwritten note included on any appeal sent to the top 10-15% of existing donors. Just a little something to add a personal touch whenever possible.
Watch the webinar in its entirety here: