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Standing Out in the Christmas Crowd

Thursday, 19th December 2013 at 8:50 am
Staff Reporter
Christmas is the biggest time for giving, but donors aren’t going to donate just because you ask them, writes digital expert Richenda Vermeulen, Director of ntegrity.

Thursday, 19th December 2013
at 8:50 am
Staff Reporter



Standing Out in the Christmas Crowd
Thursday, 19th December 2013 at 8:50 am

Christmas is the biggest time for giving, but donors aren’t going to donate just because you ask them, writes digital expert Richenda Vermeulen, Director of ntegrity.

In December, donors are bombarded with thousands of competing “buy now” messages from organisations with much larger budgets than charities.

During Christmas, the competition is not from other charities, but large retailers.

Here are three ways to stand out from the pack:  

1. Show impact

It’s often a simple reminder but many charities spend the Christmas season asking for money rather than showing where the money is going.  

Sharing personal stories of change, inspiration and need is critical in ensuring your donors seeing why they should help.

Showing the progress of projects also gives you an opportunity to appeal for more support for an expansion or  a new project.

2. Deliver custom messages

You have the ability to customise content for your donors. Your email list should be segmented to give messages that suit your donor’s previous behaviour.

Retargeted online advertising will serve ads relevant to the donors their previous browsing on your website.

Facebook’s new custom audiences functionality allows you to create and target content specific to demographics within your donor base.

The more custom the message, the more relevant to the donor. You donors are already being exposed to these experiences by other brands and expect it from you.

3. Activate your audience

Social media is a word of mouth marketing channel – use it that way. Rather than broadcasting “give now” to donors as individuals, create inspiring or interesting content your audience will share with their social network.

A good example is Oxfam’s recent Naughty and Nice List. Although the content is specific to advocacy, this highly shared piece of content put Oxfam at the front of people’s mind – via their supporters – when thinking who to buy from at Christmas.

4. Make your donors feel good

Charities have a competitive advantage over a pair of socks, gift cards or even the most amazing food processor.

You make an impact on the world and inviting people to be a part of that. Make sure that is clear, create content that speaks to the heart of your donors.

Thank them incessantly. Share why you believe in them and believe in your cause (in the voice of donor, recipient or CEO).

Share stories of donors that have inspired your staff. In our experience with Not for Profit clients the amount of meaningful content available internally is overwhelming, it’s just a matter of curating and releasing it.


Often what you do before Christmas is as important as what you do during the festive season.

Using email and social media year round to show impact, share inspiring content and engage in meaningful conversations increases trust and strengthens your relationship with donors.

The stronger the relationship, the more they are willing to donate when asked. Then you don’t become just another charity asking for donations at Christmas, you become a trusted charity partner that donors add to their christmas shopping list.

Keen to learn more about effective online marketing?  Join Paull Young (Director of digital at charity: water) and I at ‘The future of fundraising’ in Sydney and Melbourne. If you use discount code NTEGRITY before December 31, you’ll get 25 per cent off your ticket.

About the Author: Richenda Vermeulen is the Director of ntegrity, a Melbourne-based digital agency that empowers brands to become digital. Previous to ntegrity, Vermeulen spend a decade in the Not for Profit sector, launching social media at World Vision Australia and World Vision USA.

Staff Reporter  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

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